Globalstar’s Sat-Fi, available today, lets Globalstar customers can use their current smartphones, tablets and laptops to send and receive communications when traveling beyond cellular using a wireless access point.
Sat-Fi provides shared mobile satellite voice and data, but doesn’t use Globalstar’s unique extension to the WiFi band (on Channel 14). A smartphone app enables connectivity between any Wi-Fi-enabled device and the Sat-Fi satellite hot spot. It’s not a high speed link, but you can send and receive email and SMS text messages and make voice calls.
Globalstar’s proposed Terrestrial Low-Power Service service (TLPS), would use their 2483.5-2495MHz downlink band. The “Wi-Fi extension” would be a new 22 MHz channel within the 2.4 GHz band. Globalstar uses 1610-1618.725 MHz for uplinks, but satphones are rarely used in cities (or indoors) so using their 2.4 GHz downlink would apparently not be a big problem for Globalstar in urban locations. The WiFi extension is still just a concept by Globalstar.
Globalstar claims Sat-Fi delivers speeds 4x faster than the competition with airtime plans, starting at $39.99/month and with Unlimited voice and data plans for $149.99/month. Sat-Fi is available for purchase for $999. Globalstar’s second generation constellation was completed in February, 2013.