In recent history, there have been three major players that have launched their own handset-centric satellite phone services from the ground up, owning and operating the satellites themselves along with with Land Earth Stations that communicate with them. The two global services, Iridium and Globalstar, filed for bankruptcy not long after. The third would likely have been bankrupted as well if not for the fact that it’s a regional service owned by an unending supply of Middle East oil money. Sure, Iridium was eventually reformed and bailed out by a nice US military contract, and Globalstar was reformed as well after shedding its multi-billion dollar debt the easy way, but is this really a path any business should follow? Apparently so. MSV showed up at CTIA last week donning prototypes of some sweet-looking SatPhones. As sweet as they were however, they are not well-suited for potential users. Multitouch screens, applications, web cams and WiFi are great for the typical cellphone user, but not so great for the rescue team in the Rockies whose battery just died thanks to the fact that the nice big color screen is a hog and they forgot to switch WiFi off. One handset sporting both satellite and cellular connectivity is a nice idea indeed; but it didn’t work out so well for Globalstar over half a decade ago when it were forced to dump its agreement with Verizon due to a remarkable lack of interest in the cellular capabilities of the GSP-1600. Yes, a 0.6-inch thick satellite phone might look cool to the techies at CTIA, but it really illustrates a stunning lack of understanding with regards to potential users with the need to pay $1.00 or more per minute for satellite service.
[Via Slippery Brick]