Globalstar is targeting the second quarter for the introduction of Sat-Fi, a new voice and data service that enables customers to use their Wi-Fi enabled smartphones, tablets and laptops to connect with Globalstar's satellite network when they are outside of cellular coverage.
Not only will the service enable users to send and receive communications over Globalstar satellites, but they will be able to keep their existing phone numbers as well.
The service will work via an app and a Sat-Fi satellite hotspot that will link mobile devices to the mobile satellite services (MSS) network. "It has been our vision to seamlessly integrate satellite and terrestrial coverage, and through many years of research and development, we are thrilled to announce this proprietary new technology and service offering in order to expand the use and appeal of our mobile satellite services to a much larger addressable market," said Jay Monroe, Globalstar chairman and CEO.
"We have waited a long time to be in the position to announce this breakthrough product and I'd like to thank the entire development team for their unending perseverance," he added.
Globalstar is awaiting final FCC certification of Sat-Fi, which should arrive next quarter. The service's introduction raises the stakes in an ongoing war of words between Globalstar and proponents of regulatory changes that would allow use of high-power, outdoor Wi-Fi equipment in 5.1 GHz spectrum, which Globalstar uses for licensed forward feeder links that enable duplex communications.
Advocates of the proposed changes say Globalstar's MSS network would not suffer harmful interference from outdoor Wi-Fi use in the U-NII-1 band, but the company contends the ubiquitous deployment of outdoor Wi-Fi devices would overwhelm its system.
- see this Globalstar release
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