AT&T has unveiled a phone that bridges the gap of non-coverage areas. In mountainous or wilderness areas, AT&T admits they do not have coverage. From personal experience, I can verify that.
The new phone, called the TerreStar Genus, is a satellite based phone rather than one that uses cell towers. Still, you need to have a clear view of the southern sky for it to transmit and receive a signal.
It appears to offer a good solution for travelers, hikers, skiers, boaters, and others in areas where AT&T's signal isn't normally available.people - but at a relatively hefty price.
The phone retails for $799 and requires regular AT&T voice and data service plans but no contract. It functions as a normal cell phone using traditional tower sites, but for an extra $25 per month and 65 cents per minute, you can switch to the satelliute mode.
It is being billed as a smartphone with Windows Mobile 6.5 software and a full-alphabet keyboard, It is similar in appearance to a larger version of the BlackBerry.There is no external antenna.
Satellite texting and data transfer rates also are considerably higher than typical cell phone usage.
It is expected that the costs for the phone and the satellite minutes will drop over time.