Iridium ZOLEO

Alloy

Well-known member
I've been looking for satellite communication to add/replace a Montana 680. The Garmin 66i is appealing but I've a hard time convincing myself the $$$ are worth it to carry one device and the plans that don't suit heavy summer use and no use in winter.

Today a dealer told me that Iridium has just released ZOLEO. A device that allows communication through a smart phone along with a basic plan that allows more text messages for less $$ than Garmin. ZOLEO does not do tacking like inReach will. After 3 months the plan can be suspended for $5 or $6.50/month.


Plans
 
Last edited:

pluton

Adventurer
This system, if it works as advertised, would seem to break the affordability barrier for a lot of folks. I like that it does longer (900+ characters) SMS and emails. Better than my satphone that only does very short SMS and emails.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

Vehicle-dependent Expedition Guide
by Tom Sheppard
From $133.97
Into Africa
by Sam Manicom
From $24.65
The Essential Guide to Overland Travel in the United Stat...
by TeriAnn Wakeman
From $64.95
Motorcycle Messengers 2: Tales from the Road by Writers w...
by Jeremy Kroeker, Ted Simon, Lois Pryce, Billy Ward,...
From $9.99

shade

Well-known member
Thanks for the link, this is the perfect replacement for my old increach device that garmin no longer supports!
Did Garmin totally drop service plan support for Delorme inReach products? I figured they would eventually, but I hadn't heard that had happened yet.
 

shade

Well-known member
Today a dealer told me that Iridium has just released ZOLEO.
It appears that Zoleo uses the Iridium system, but isn't owned by Iridium.


I hope it works out. We need more alternatives.
 
Did Garmin totally drop service plan support for Delorme inReach products? I figured they would eventually, but I hadn't heard that had happened yet.
It's a long story, but the short of it is that older inreach devices will still transmit SOS but that's it. Garmin gave me no notice whatsoever at the time, and there was nothing posted on their website about it.
 

toddz69

Explorer
It's a long story, but the short of it is that older inreach devices will still transmit SOS but that's it. Garmin gave me no notice whatsoever at the time, and there was nothing posted on their website about it.
When you say 'older', which models do you mean? I'm hoping my Inreach SE is still covered!

Thanks,
Todd Z.
 

rayra

Expedition Leader
Better look into SpaceX's Starlink system, in under a year it's going to change EVERYTHING about backcountry comms.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Better look into SpaceX's Starlink system, in under a year it's going to change EVERYTHING about backcountry comms.
Teledesic tried and went completely under. Iridium and Globalstar have gone through bankruptcy trying but have been so far survivors. Viasat and Hughes plod along following their satellite connectivity models.

There's OneWeb jabbing with SpaceX. OneWeb is focused, arguable more mature and backed by serious and experienced inventors (Qualcomm, Airbus, Virgin, Intelsat). SpaceX is trying to pad out their launch business more than than anything while OneWeb is only about communication. Telesat is another company trying and they probably have the technically superior approach. Being modest in coverage means it's likely the most viable business.

If Amazon gets anywhere with Project Kuiper that's going to pressure the business models. Satellite broadband just seems like a great way for a company to churn through mountains of cash so far without much promise of financial stability. And other than maybe Amazon (who is years behind anyway), SpaceX of all of them has set out the most grand expectation by a sizable margin. They'll have an order of magnitude more capacity but their complexity is high and efficiency is awful low to sustain the business model.
 
Last edited:

Recommended books for Overlanding

rayra

Expedition Leader
"SpaceX is trying to pad out their launch business more than than anything while OneWeb is only about communication."

I'm sorry, but that opinion is a load of excrement. Anyone who's listened to any of Musk's space / science symposium engagements would know the Starlink network is a leveraging of their re-usable boosters and an intended major source of funding for Musk's Starship / Mars efforts. SpaceX is rapidly accelerating into their Starlink program as a necessary evolution / adjunct to their overall strategic plans.

One significant difference in their tech and business model is that the Starlink network is in a much lower orbit than prior piss-poor rural geosync satellite services. IIRC 500-600mi rather than 23,000. The Starlink latency will be significantly less and the bandwidth far greater. The basic premise of it is 5G+ speeds, anywhere between the polar circles, once the full system is lofted (3-4years)

SpaceX is now on a schedule of lofting 60 Starlink satellites every 3-4 weeks. They're using 1st stage boosters on their 3rd-4th-5th re-use (and with the deliberate intent to re-use them as many times as possible, as a parallel demonstration and testing of their tech). Their costs to orbit are thus substantially lower than the geosynch based dinosaurs you put forward in comparison.

Starlink is expected to be in limited commercial rollout by the end of the year. And in full sale for use over the next two years.

I'm in an old neighborhood in suburban Los Angeles, I can't get anything better than cable internet at a relatively slow 70mbit down / 6mbit up. 5G starts at 50mbit down and can go much faster. My intermediate plans include a semi-rural homestead in TX. Up until news of Starlink, I was looking to stay within 'cable' distance of some intermediate-sized towns. A functional Starlink network makes internet at broadband speeds available just about anywhere. That's a huge game-changer. Especially compared to the plodding geostationary satellite internet services and their slow narrow speeds.

And Musk's stated goal is that service is going to cost LESS than rural satellite and suburban broadband, cost consumers well under what they are paying today. Starlink is going to wipe away most of those legacy systems, just as their Falcon-9 is eating everybody's lunch in the commercial satellite launch business. ESA is crying for EU subsidies as they lose customers to SpaceX.

And frankly, SpaceX is already so far beyond Bezos' Blue Origin efforts, by every measure. Not least of all commercial payloads to orbit and recovery and re-use of said boosters. Some of the Starlink launches have included 1st stages on their fourth re-use. Blue Origin is clocking what a dozen demonstration / test launches? SpaceX is pushing 90 launches of their Falcon9 and delivering a lot of real and varied payloads to orbit.
They're recouping boosters at sea and on land (I actually attended their first land recovery on the west coast) and even catching some of their $6M carbon fiber nose fairings at sea. IIRC they just missed what would have been their 50th landing recovery (out of 60+ attempts) on their most recent starlink launch a few days ago.
I'm hoping that Bezos does more than compete for 'space tourism' with Branson's Virgin Galactic. Musk is going to take us to Mars and fully intends on establishing a human colony there.


eta - Starlink to date, 302 satellites on orbit. Another 60 slated for March 4.

 
Last edited:

shade

Well-known member
It's still early days for these massive constellations.
I wouldn't bet the farm on any of them yet, but it's exciting to see the different programs reach orbit.
I don't doubt that old providers will be left behind as their aging equipment and user base times out.
 
Top