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New accessory to turn iPhone into a satellite phone

Apple were quick to the call the iPhone 4 a ‘world phone’ a few year’s back, despite select versions not actually working on our side of the pond at all (namely Verizon’s CDMA model), but now it looks as though such a boast could legitimately hold water.

Until tomorrow’s launch, set to take place in Washington, D.C. and Thursday’s in New York, full specs or features are a little scarce on the ground, but according to BusinessWire, global communications company Thuraya is aiming to bestow true global phone functionality to Apple’s famed smartphone. The accessory which remains unnamed with allow iPhone users to tap into Thuraya’s global satellite comms network, with coverage (shown below) available in practically every country save for the Americas and dropping off on the southernmost part of Africa as well as the to the north of Russia.

Thuraya coverage map

Users looking to have some global mobile access will likely need a clear view of the sky to make a call, but save for that caveat, they’ll effectively be able to place a call from anywhere within the EMEA, Asia and beyond.

This isn’t in fact the first time a company has granted an iPhone satellite call functionality, with the Spot Connect ‘hockey puck’ offering a similar service back in 2011. Although Thuraya’s pricing for the accessory or the service hasn’t yet been revealed, Spot Connect’s pricing structure worked out at $170 for the accessory with a contract price on $100 a month. We’re unsure as to whether the pricing will be higher or lower, especially considering the lack of support for the Americas at present, (unless the US launch events are to also unveil that too) but this new addition to the catalogue of iPhone-friendly accessories will offer a lot more than your average screen protector or case.


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