Can you get a satellite phone cheaper than AT&T or Verizon? No but at $20 per month Globalstar is offering an unlimited airtime call plan for new customers. A plan both cheaper and with much greater call coverage than any cell phone provider.
gCaptian purchased an older model GSP-1600 Phone via Amazon to test the voice plan. The results were good, we purchased a used phone for less than $100 and had it activated on the $20/month plan in just a few hours. Pretty seamless but there are a few minor concerns you should know about.
First Globalstar is know for having had connection problems in the past and they require that you sign a disclaimer – which states “I understand that there are some temporary limitations to the Two Way Voice and Data Services on the Globalstar Satellite Constellation.” – prior to activating the service. The service activation itself was also a bit strange. The company doesn’t allow you to activate the phone via their website or customer service number. Instead they email you a, rather confusing, excel spreadsheet which you must fax back tot he company. Once faxed our service was activate in a few short hours.
The plan itself requires a phone which range in price from $100 (used online) to $500 for the latest model sat phone via Amazon. Once purchased you will also need to pay a $50 activation fee and this must all be done before the $20/month promotion expires on March 31st.
In short, I would not use this phone for emergencies but it – and the price of the unlimited voice plan – is perfect for making phone calls from the ship. Combined with a Google Voice account you can even have your incoming calls routed to both your sat and cell phones!
For those on international voyages be sure to check the Globalstar coverage map below to make sure it works in the areas your ship travels.