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January 12, 2012

CNET – Satellite tech, app connect your iPhone anywhere in the world

CNET covers Iridium AxcessPoint Mail & Web

Satellite tech, app connect your iPhone anywhere in the world

Are you heading to a remote part of the world, where you’re totally cut off from wireless networks? If so, bring your Apple device along, and you can actually stay connected to the Web.

Iridium Communications announced today that it has brought its AxcessPoint Mail & Web app to iOS. With the mobile Wi-Fi hot spot technology in tow, iPadiPhone, and iPod Touch owners will be able to connect to the Web and check their e-mail on the 90 percent of the planet, where wireless networks aren’t available.

There are some hurdles customers will need to overcome in order to connect their iOS devices to the Web in these remote spots. For one, they’ll need to buy an Iridium satellite phone, which should set them back between $1,000 and $1,500. The company’s free application must then be downloaded onto the iOS-based device. From there, customers must pay for Iridium satellite service, which costs about $1 per minute.

Once all that is in place, users need only to connect their satellite phone with the application running on their iOS-based device, and they’ll be all set.

However, don’t expect it to provide breakneck speeds while you’re in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean trying to surf the Web. According to an Iridium representative, the company’s satellite service is “good for e-mail and texts,” but it won’t hold up when trying to download video or open big sites. Typical Iridium data speeds are 2.4kbps, but this application “offers data speeds up to five times faster” for Web browsing and 15 times faster for e-mail, the representative said.

“This isn’t broadband,” Iridium CEO Matt Desch told CNET in September, when his company launched AxcessPoint. “It’s satellite data service. It’s not something that you would use to stream video from Hulu. It’s to give people who are traveling in very remote parts of the world, where there is no cell phone access, the ability to check e-mail and access the Web.”

When AxcessPoint launched in September, it came with support for Macs, Windows PCs, and BlackBerry devices.

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