It probably happened to you many times to speak with somebody and suddenly lose the signal. Or it can happen when you are on a mountain trip and you really need to make a phone call. But all these issues disappear once you get yourself a satellite phone. This kind of phone won’t connect to land cell sites but straight to orbiting satellites. Thus, you will be able to send and receive messages and calls, as well has benefit of a low-bandwith Internet plan. Some satellite phones will even have coverage on the entire surface of Earth; yes, that means even mount Everest and the depths of the ocean.
Obviously, this isn’t a product oriented at regular buyers but at those that have to be always in touch – business people. Satellite phones, as well, are made in such a way that they avoid wiretapping attempts. Maybe that’s why they are illegal in North Korea and Burma, as well as in India, where you need a proper permission. Since the iPhone is synonym with the smartphone, there are many businessmen and not only using it all over the world. Thuraya knows this and that’s why they have developed an adaptor which brings satellite connectivity to your iPhone.
Receive calls almost everywhere with Thuraya satellite adaptor for iPhone
The Thuraya SatSleeve has been recently unveiled at an event in New York City. Right from the start, you should know that the device is expected to have a retail price for the voice and text only model around $499. The next-generation Thuraya adaptor will also support Internet data traffic and will have a bigger price, in the $600-$800 range. The SatSleeve adaptor is actually composed of two parts, as you can see from pictures (no physical product was present at the launch event): a craddle where you dock the iPhone and the sleeve that gets attached to the back.
And if you look closer, you’ll see that besides the satellite connectivity, SatSleeve also offers extra juice for your iPhone. It comes packing quite a big battery of 2400 mAh, which should offer an extra 48 hours of battery on standby and three more hours of battery while talking. While it’s not a huge help, it might be enough for you to make that ultraimportant call while you’re climbing. And talking about calls – it will not have the same costs that you are used to. Even if there’s yet no official details, expect to pay around $0.75 per minute.
Internet data doesn’t come cheap
Besides that, you’ll have, of course, a different SIM card, earpiece and microphone. There’s also a special button on the sleeve that allows you to send an SOS, in case of emergency. A free applications that “bonds” the SIM to the iPhone. If you expect great Internet connections with your SatSleeve, then you’ll be disappointed. While you’ll be able to check your email and other basic things, you won’t manage to watch the latest viral clip on YouTube.
And it also won’t be light on your pocket, either. T. Sanford Jewett, VP of marketing, expressed his concern over this matter:
This is going to be one of our challenges going forward. It’s going to be an engineering challenge to build a small handheld device with a small antenna. But eventually, we think we can double data speed.
For the moment, the SatSleeve adaptor is only available for the iPhone, but Thuraya doesn’t exclude the possibility of the coming of an Android model in the near future. If you’ve made your decision and this is what you want in your backpack for your next mountain trip, then here’s a video on how to properly dock and undock the adaptor:
Please be aware that Thuraya’s products are interdicted in India