TerreStar Sat Phone Service Available

Certain customers are now able to communicate with the huge TerreStar-1 using spectrum previously allocated for broadcast 2 GHz ENG use. AT&T announced this week that its "Satellite Augmented Mobile Service" is available to enterprise, government and small business "Corporate Responsibility Users."

AT&T subscribers--with the $799 AT&T/TerreStar GENUS satellite phone and line-of-sight to TerreStar-1--have access to expanded voice and data roaming coverage in the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and also in territorial waters.

The GENUS phone includes access to the AT&T terrestrial cellular system. It also has a camera, Wi-Fi, touch screen, camera and GPS. From the photos on SlashGear it appears to be similar in size (perhaps a bit larger) to the older Blackberry phones. Half of the device's front is used as a display screen and the rest as a pointing device and keyboard.

SlashGear said that in addition to the expensive phone, satellite capability adds $25 per month on top of a regular cellphone/data plan, plus a charge of $0.65/minute for voice and $5 per megabyte for data. Text messages cost 40 cents. Worldwide coverage is not included.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.