Thuraya Heep

Ah, integrating an iPhone with satellite services. We’ve been after that for years and I’m sure we’ll see both talk, text, broadband data and TV — some by satcom, but mostly by terrestrial (GSM, CDMA, LTE, whatever). Dish Network will be the first.

When you’re out in the wilderness, you wish you could connect by satellite. The first was TerreStar with their Genus a few years ago. That sold for $1,100+ back then — which was nuts.

Thuraya had their system — using GSM and satellite when signal was unavailable — up and running in deserts of Asia and Africa since 2001. How many handsets have they sold? Would you believe 600,000? That’s right: it took 12 years to sell that many — and I don’t think you’re counting net handsets in use today (churn, upgrades, etc., over the years). The new boss from Michigan is really getting this moving.

A couple of months ago, they introduced SatSleeve — an enclosure, battery supplement and satellite transceiver. It costs around $650 and probably many dollars per minute to use.

Sorry I wasn’t paying attention, but I had a lot going on. I think this is a brilliant product and I hope they sell a ton of them. It takes a big thinker from Detroit to make it happen.

Just in time for the magician’s birthday.


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