Spot Global Satellite Phone: When You Need to Be Connected

May 16, 2013

Devices will be increasingly available that allow you to stay connected anywhere on Earth. It’s an inevitable trend in technology.

The Spot Global Phone is the latest manifestation of this trend, a satellite phone you’ll soon be able to buy from major retail outlets. You can read all about in the press release, but here are three of the most crucial specs:

  • Weight: 7 ounces
  • Battery Life: 4 hours talk time, 36 hours standby
  • Cost: $499 for the phone; required subscription plan starts at $24.99/month, unlimited voice service $149.99/month

The Spot Global Phone also includes the emergency locator beacon technology that has been available for years with the Spot Satellite GPS Messenger (formerly the Spot Tracker), and is designed for the rigors of the backcountry (tested in temps from -40 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit).

Note also that the phone utilizes the GlobalStar satellite system, which does not offer full global coverage as the below map illustrates.

I’ll be very interested to see the reviews once the phone goes on sale at the end of May, especially since the GlobalStar satellite system hasn’t enjoyed the best reputation, especially compared to the full global coverage of the long-established Iridium network of satellites.

In fact, a SPOT rep I spoke with several years ago told me that the reason why GlobalStar began producing the Spot Tracker in the first place was because they were searching for new revenue streams given that several of their satellites had unexpectedly and prematurely decayed, compromising their ability to provide clear and consistent voice transmission.

When it comes to the success of the Spot Global Phone, time and user experience will tell.

“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.