The Globalstar GSP-1700 handheld satellite phone provides regional coverage for voice and 9.6 kbps data. Globalstar satellite phones have a U.S. mobile phone number with area codes in Texas, Florida, or Alaska. Globalstar began commercial service in late 1999 with a communications network originally designed to have 48 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites orbiting 878 miles above the earth. This ingenious design provided for multiple path diversity and consequently reliable calling capability in the Globalstar primary coverage areas. Calls from Globalstar satellite phones automatically route over the satellite providing the strongest signal at any given time. If the signal from a satellite weakens, the call is immediately routed over a different satellite if one is available. Thus, as long as one of the satellites can simultaneously see the mobile satellite user's position and one of the Globalstar gateways (indicated by a dish symbol on the coverage map), the call can be routed. This is called "bent pipe" signal routing, and it is designed to provide high sound quality with limited call drops. In 2007, Globalstar experienced technical problems with the S-band amplifiers in its satellites and this dramatically reduced its ability to provide two-way voice and data services. Simplex products such as SPOT continues to operate effectively. Over $1 billion was invested in developing a second generation of satellites. As of early 2013, Globalstar has successfully launched 24 new second generation satellites which combined with the 8 first generation satellites that were launched in 2007 make a total constellation of 32 satellites.
Calls made from outside the Home Zone (or made using Gateways outside the Home Zone) are considered roaming calls and roaming charges apply.
Roaming is currently not available in the areas inside the light blue line, i.e. Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador and the surrounding oceans. Globalstar is working towards resolving this issue and may resolve it by mid-2014. There also are technical issues impacting connectivity and service levels inside the region indicated by the light green line. Globalstar has identified these issues and is working towards a resolution currently expected in 2Q 2014.
Actual coverage may vary because of gateway deployment, local licensing and other factors. Globalstar service is a satellite radio technology subject to transmission limitations caused by type of terrain, service area limits, customer equipment use and other variable conditions including the functionality and orbital locations of the satellites themselves. Contact Customer Care to obtain details on roaming and Direct Internet service availability prior to traveling.