Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone - Silver
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- Airtime plans from just 10 EUR per month, pre-paid airtime now available as well
- Voice and Data Capabilities
- Send emails and surf the internet at speeds up to 56 kps (with OCENS compressed data services)
- Backlit colour display with 4 line, 12 character LCD
- Automatic System Select: Just turn up the satellite antenna, and your Globalstar phone will automatically seek out the Globalstar network
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Colour Name: Silver
The Globalstar GSP-1700 is the smallest and lightest Globalstar satellite phone and has an ergonomic design for user comfort and convenience. Weighing only 200g the GSP-1700 is easy to travel with and the antenna stows into the handset when not in use for even more compact carrying. This GSP-1700 listing is for the Copper coloured version.
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Top Customer Reviews
Cheap and East to use with fantastic call quality
No text message facility
Very occasional problem securing a fix on the network.
I have used in the UK, Norway, North Sweden, Canada, Portugal without any problems.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I've only had mine a couple weeks but my initial impression is good.
Be sure to check out the "Globalstar call times tool" on their website. Their service has indeed improved from "horrendous" to "barely tolerable", a big improvement. At one time the phone only worked a few minutes each hour. Now across most of the US its more like 45 minutes or so with their recent launch of satellites by the Russians.
When I first got the phone it was immediately a warm and fuzzy feeling of back to the stone-age. Because it looks and works like a cell phone from 10 years ago. That was kind of a disappointment because the user interface is so clunky and dated.
Once you get past that and extend the giant antenna, it picks up a signal in a couple minutes (assuming its not too cloudy and you are in your calling time window and are standing in an open field with the antenna pointing straight up).
That is when the phone really shines. Crystal clear and NO LATENCY like a "normal" satellite phone. The low earth orbit is the reason why. With a regular satellite phone there is a huge delay and its more like a walkie talkie. With globalstar the people I called thought I was on a regular cell phone.
Other negatives are overpriced accessories like a spare battery or data cable. Hopefully the Chinese will step up to the plate and make some cheap clones.
A bit pricey if you count the price and one year at $39.95 I am into this about $900. And expect them to raise the rate again in a year if they continue to launch satellites and improve the service.
But I like to go backpacking in wilderness and its worth it for my piece of mind.
Besides the clunky interface Globalstar is also a little stone-age. I had to fax in a spreadsheet to activate the account, then pester the customer service email address to find out when it was active. Sheesh you'd think if they could launch a satellite they could launch a few web pages and let you register online.
You can tell if your dealer is a crook (like mine) because they never bother to mention that Globalstar only works some of the time. Fortunately I already knew that. Honest dealers are supposed to tell you in advance.
But I'm giving it 4 stars for now because its working as well as expected.
It supports a data connection via USB through an optional (but sadly, proprietary) USB cable. Data rates are acceptable, and the data service is included in the $20/month plan. Overall, the accessories are a bit expensive as with Iridium and Thuraya products, but I'm happy to support Globalstar.
So, the catch to a cheap phone and unbelievably cheap service? Globalstar's first generation satellites have begun to fail and Globalstar is around half way complete in launching the second generation system. For most people in North America, this means a typical call time is about an average of 15 minutes, with the maximum being 45 minutes (or sometimes longer in some cases) before the call is dropped. Once the launches are complete, the service will return to the same great reliability they were known for in the late nineties. As my dealer put it, Globalstar is looking to become "the WalMart of satellite communications." Service area is most of the world with the exception of southern Africa and the poles.
Service quality, when connected, is amazing. There is no detectable lag or delay as Globalstar uses a bent pipe system, in that what gets sent to the satellite gets routed to a ground station without going through additional satellites. The call quality is compressed minimally, and to me sounds far better than a cell phone and just as good as most landlines!
I highly reccomend investing in both a GSP-1700 now (they come in three colors!) and a 1-year service contract. I suspect that the price will remain at or around $20, but wouldn't be surprised as the reliability increases that the price will too. So grab a year of service now and lock in this amazing deal. This is a priceless and valuable tool to have if you travel out of the range of cell service. In the case of a natural disaster, this will continue to function beautifully even after cell phone towers are jammed, destroyed, or turned off such as in the case of Hurricane Katrina.
It doesn't work well in cities with tall buildings and, more importantly, it doesn't work in forests. I had to hike 10+ minites to find eneough clear sky and then wait to finally get a usable signal, that then vanished during the call as they use low orbiting satellites instead of geo-synchronous.
They have now changed their pricing. Unbelievably, on the lower Two plans they are charging $4.99 for voicemail even though the voice is Allison that is used on Asterisk and FreeSwitch, both open source, free projects.
If you buy a whole year ($480 plan), you save an amazing $0.12. Yes really. They actually expect you to pay in advance for a years service for the princely savings of 12 cents.
There is no rollover, not even one months, so you had better use everything you have paid for. I bet there is no warning (press x to pay the excess charge) and you will just be billed double the amount for excess minutes (it works out at 50 cents per min on the $39.99 p/m plan and 99 cents per min for the excess.
I think they will lose a lot of customers this year if they don't change their ways. They still have an unlimited, which will no doubt be abused, so I really don't know why they do that. Silly PR that internet companies do but then give themselves an out by dropping you. So what is the point besides alienating customers and inviting lawsuits.
Its highly likely I will sell my phone and car bag kit when the contract is up as it barely works where I need it, on my land that is forested.