By Zuzana Prochazka
Inmarsat Expands Communications Options for Boaters
The venerable big-vessel communications company brings satellite phones and usage rates closer to the rest of us.
News from the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show: Inmarsat is putting price pressure on the competition with new hardware and software. The ISat Phone Pro handheld unit ($600) and two mounted options called FleetPhone ($1900 and $2300) from Australian hardware manufacturer Beam, are expected to bring Inmarsat connectivity to the average boating consumer.
Besides more affordable phones, outgoing usage charges are down to 80-90 cents/minute for voice and 50-55 cents/minute for SMS texting. Coverage is worldwide on Inmarsat’s proprietary satellite network, and a built-in emergency call number is included. “Five-zero-five is like the boater’s nine-one-one,” said Frank August, Inmarsat’s Director of Maritime – Americas. “We’re providing reliable communications and a safety feature for a reasonable price that most boaters can afford.”
- Zuzana Prochazka is a writer and photographer who freelances for a dozen boating magazines and websites. A USCG 100 Ton Master, Zuzana has cruised, chartered and skippered flotillas in many parts of the world and serves as a presenter on charter destinations and topics. She is the Chair of the New Product Awards committee, judging innovative boats and gear at NMMA and NMEA shows, and currently serves as immediate past president of Boating Writers International. She contributes to Boats.com and YachtWorld.com, and also blogs regularly on her boat review site, TalkoftheDock.com.