Tuesday, May 3, 2011

All I Want To Do is Make a Phone Call - From Mid Ocean

The Inmarsat with Antenna partially extended.
Turn the picture on its side and you will find the
secret message Inmarsat is sending Iridium

Still making decisions on equipment and services before braving the cold gray waters of the Atlantic.  Our communications choice was the new Isatphone Pro satellite phone from Inmarsat.  Inmarsat has a long history of providing rock solid satellite data services although the phone is a recent entry into the satphone market.  

Today we learned our satellite phone has been delivered to its US location and awaits only to be picked up to be useful.

Oh, and we have to take it out of the USA.  We cannot use our phone in the USA.  No fooling.

Apparently the technology used in the "prepaid minutes" system of charging for sat phone use is owned by Iridium, a satellite phone company in compeitition with Inmarsat.  That is what Iridium says anyway and they are claiming patent rights and have started a law suit.

The end result is that if you are in the USA you must buy an expensive monthly payment plan or you cannot use the Isatphone Pro.  

The alternative Prepaid feature provides an inexpensive calling.

When we get to our boat in Norfolk we will have to sail offshore 50 to 100 miles before the phone will work.  The phone has a gps built in so it knows when we are within the zone where prepaid use is prohibited.

Such is the benefit of the American Intellectual Property legislation.  No benefit to society, no benefit to individuals.  Just lots of law suits and bullying.

The American system is the one our own dear Prime Minister swears is best for Canada and the one that he is going to ram down our throats.  Not for us the Euro system which still protects the rights  of IP holders but allows other methods of resolution than blood battle.  

Lucky for us our PM is so smart.

In fairness we could pick up the phone and bring it to Canada to test it.  Then we would have to pay 13% HST at the border.  Welcome to Canada.  Let's do business.  Not.

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