AT&T To Launch Satellite Service Next Year
AT&T Mobility will launch a satellite service next year in partnership with TerreStar. The service will operate on AT&T's 3G network and cost $20 per month for connectivity, with additional charges based on usage. The service will cover the U.S. and Canada and extend to 150 miles offshore. TerreStar plans to launch its satellite in June of next year, with service expected to begin in the fall. The satellite weighs 17,000 pounds and has a 60-foot main reflector disk. “This is a really big satellite,” said TerreStar's David Primmer.
A satellite that large enables small form factor devices to receive the signal. In fact, AT&T plans to provide the service first to PDAs, with full voice and data functionality. Devices will roam onto the satellite network should the terrestrial network become unavailable. The transition won't be seamless; users will have to reinitiate the call after the terrestrial signal is lost. “We're excited about adding increased reliability and capabilities for our customers,” said AT&T's Jeff Carl.