AT&T has announced plans to work with TerreStar to offer an integrated smartphone mobility solution that will combine primary cellular wireless connectivity with the ability to connect to a satellite network as a backup, using one phone number and one smartphone device.
This new solution will provide users with an access to both cellular and satellite networks through a handset that is – as the companies claim – both smaller and more feature-rich than previous satellite devices.
The TerreStar Genus smartphone combines GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA terrestrial wireless capability with satellite voice and data capability. The device runs on the Windows Mobile and includes 2.6” touchscreen, WiFi, Bluetooth® and GPS.
The device gives users the option to access theTerreStar satellite network when AT&T’s cellular wireless network is unavailable.
AT&T wireless users with a line of sight to the satellite will be able to access voice and data coverage in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and in territorial waters.
When cellular networks are unavailable, TerreStar’s satellite will act as a cell site in the sky to provide coverage to help users stay connected. The solution announced today is well-suited for government, energy, utility, transportation and maritime users. AT&T states that it can provide a critical communications back-up capability, important to public safety agencies, first responders, emergency services and disaster recovery groups.
The integrated cellular/satellite solution will combine the satellite network-related charges on the customer’s regular wireless bill. AT&T’s monthly invoice will include the customer’s cellular voice and data service charges, the satellite network access subscription feature charge and the satellite voice and data roaming charges.
It is expected to be available for enterprise, government and small business customers and their corporate liable users in the first quarter of 2010. AT&T informs that the company is working on a similar solution for consumers.