Inmarsat debuts low-cost handsets

Dual-mode satellite/GSM phone aimed at business and consumer users.

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By  Ronan Shields Published  September 6, 2007

UK mobile satellite services company Inmarsat has unveiled its low-cost IsatPhone and fixed satellite LandPhone in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

The debut of the dual-mode satellite/GSM IsatPhone signals Inmarsat's expansion from its core customer base in the enterprise sector as the company attempts to pitch its fortunes in the consumer segment of the market.

The IsatPhone is exclusive to the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific before the roll out is extended globally in the latter half of 2008.

"The IsatPhone and the fixed LandPhone will provide a world-class solution for regional businesses and individuals who need to be connected wherever they are, without worrying about the reliability of the local telephone network," said Samer Halawi, vice president, Inmarsat, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

The service comes with additional features such as call hold/waiting, call forwarding, conference calls for up to five participants and, in GSM mode, SMS. The handsets are expected to retail at around $500, with voice call charges expected to cost less than $1 per minute.

The launch of the IsatPhone indicates Inmarsat's play to increase its traction in the consumer segment of the market as indicated by the company recently signing a supply and distribution contract with Dubai-based mobile phone retailer Axiom Telecom.

Inmarsat's portfolio of satellite phone services will be completed in early 4Q07 with the launch of the FleetPhone, Inmarsat's new maritime satellite phone.

IsatPhone and LandPhone will initially be available from eight Inmarsat distribution partners ACeS, Chinasat, Evosat, Fono, MCN, MVS, Satcom Global and Stratos.

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