AT&T launching dual-mode cellular/satellite smartphone

AT&T and satellite service provider TerreStar Networks announced a deal for AT&T to distribute an integrated, dual-mode smartphone that will be able to access both AT&T's wireless network and TerreStar's satellite network.

terrestar genus smartphoneThe phone, called the TerreStar Genus, can access TerreStar's satellite network when AT&T's service is unavailable. Users will have a single phone number for both networks. The service will give users who have a line of sight to TerreStar's satellite increased coverage access across the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and territorial waters.

AT&T initially will launch the phone in first quarter of 2010, with the focus on enterprise, government and small business users. The company also plans an offering for consumers. The GSM/GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA/HSDPA/satellite device will cost around $800, and users can buy a terrestrial mobile package and then add the satellite service for $25 per month, paying 65 cents per minute for voice use and $5 per megabyte of data use. The Genus will run on windows Mobile 6.5 and also has a 2.6-inch touchscreen, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS.

In June, AT&T announced its intentiosn to resell TerreStar services, and on July 1, TererStar launched its 17,000-pound TerreStar 1 satellite.

Meanwhile, in other satellite news, satellite service provider Iridium had an public stock offering yesterday that raised an estimated $200 million. The company plans to use the money to begin replacing its satellites, which it launched 12 years ago.

For more:
- see this release
- see these photos and specs
- see this Washington Post article

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