iSatPhone Pro ($585 to buy or $40 per week rental)
The other big story in lower-cost satellite communications options for business is the softening market for rental phones. Right now, even $40 a week fetches a real-deal satphone: the iSatphone Pro. There seems no shortage of features here. You can hold a real live conversation with any phone on earth.
But watch who you call. Satphone-to-satphone calls -- particularly with other carriers -- can get above $7 a minute! You will like the rugged design and decent short-messaging options, but keep in mind you are still spending a minimum 99 cents per minute to use this thing. And 50 cents per text message.
So keep usage to a minimum. But for calling in that sell order from a far-flung beach, its tough to beat the iSatphone.
Qualcomm (Stock Quote: QCOM) GSP 1700 ($499, plus one-year discounted rate of $20 per month for access)
International satellite provider Globalstar has decided discounting is not such a bad thing after all. Until Aug. 31 the company is offering a dang good deal on a nice looking satphone and a one-year plan for what adds up to $750 for the year. The GSP 1700 is a full-function, two-way text and voice phone sporting full memory dials and a reasonable form factor and color. And you can count on Globalstar being a first-tier communications provider. Coverage and call quality should be solid.
Sure, $750 sounds like a lot. But remember, a fancy iPhone can cost close to $1,200 a year for service, and simple international cellular roaming can easily double that. That means if you are doing any sort of global wandering, the GSP 1700 is worth considering.
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