The new Iridium GO! is a stand-alone hotspot device designed for use with iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. There is no need for a separate satellite phone. The only cable you need is a micro-USB cable used for recharging the internal battery. All connections are made through Wi-Fi and up to 5 smart devices can connect to the GO! simultaneously.
Here are the top six things we like about the Iridium GO!
It is easy to make phone calls over the Iridium network from the Iridium GO! app -- even if you are using an iPad that cannot make cell phone calls. The sound quality is better than the sound quality of standard Iridium satellite phones.
- Iridium GO! is great for texting, and Iridium offers several plans with unlimited texting.Iridium GO! is a great tool for vehicle tracking. You can send out position reports at equal time spacings as small as 5 minutes apart. GPS position reports are sent as text messages. This means selecting one of the unlimited texting plans lets you achieve global vehicle tracking -- even every 5 minutes -- for a very reasonable fixed monthly fee!
You can send an S.O.S. emergency text message with your GPS location using a red button on the Iridium GO!. You can also send the S.O.S. message from one of the connected smart devices. If you are using a smart device, the S.O.S. function can also initiate a voice call to any number you choose to program.
- Different privileges can be set for different user account. For example, one user can be given the ability to make outbound phone calls while another user can be limited to texting. Since GO! is a multi-user device, this ability is a critical budget-protection tool.
- GO! works on regular Iridium prepaid and postpaid service plans so customers with existing SIMs can use them in their Iridium GO! device. Also, Iridium offers special plans for the GO! with unlimited texting and internet access.
Here are a few things we didn't like about Iridium GO!
- It is possible to view some mobile-optimized web sites. That said, Iridium GO!, which has a data speed of 2400-2800 bps (best case), is really not fast enough for web browsing applications. Happily, we did find that email and photo-sharing worked quite well.
- As with other Iridium satellite phones, we often had trouble getting a signal, though with a little patience we were able to use the Iridium GO! effectively. Iridium is currently building its second generation Iridium NEXT satellites, which they expect to put into orbit between 2015 and 2017. This should remove most of the gaps in signal that Iridium users are occasionally experiencing now.
- Another limitation of the Iridium GO! is that it is currently limited to iOS and Android devices. Apparently Windows PCs and Mac computer users will have to wait.
Comparison of Iridium GO! with the new Globalstar Sat-Fi Hotspot
This summer, both Iridium and Globalstar launched their own new stand-alone hotspot devices aimed at smart phone users. The Globalstar Sat-Fi hotspot has many features including a hardware price of $999 that are similar to Iridium GO!. In our opinion, Globalstar Sat-Fi is primarily beneficial to fixed-site users in North America, such as owners of remote cabins or other such facilities. Its unlimited Basic Rate voice plan may be a great value for many users with remote cabins and lodges. Here are some strengths and weaknesses of the Globalstar Sat-Fi compared to the Iridium GO!:
- While GO! has unlimited SMS and unlimited data plans, it does not have unlimited voice plans like Globalstar.
- Sat-Fi requires the use of an external antenna and external power. Iridium GO! is a stand-alone device with a built-in battery that works fine without any external antenna. An optional antenna adapter for external antenna applications is available.
- Globalstar Sat-Fi has a much smaller than Iridium GO!. Sat-Fi coverage includes parts of the continental U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Iridium offers global coverage.
How to Buy an Iridium GO! or Globalstar Sat-Fi
Outfitter Satellite now has the long-awaited Iridium GO! hotspot available to ship. For more information or to purchase an Iridium GO! visit our online store. The Globalstar Sat-Fi can also be ordered online. Airtime service can be selected and activated through the online store as well.
*All prices and offers mentioned in this article are valid as of the time of the writing of this article but are subject to change without notice.