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Portable internet access from wherever you go

Iridium hotspot ready for backcountry, any country

Iridium Communications’ super-portable Iridium GO! exec allows users to connect their smartphone, tablet, or laptop for email, chat, social media, or emergency services anywhere on the planet.

Photo courtesy of Iridium.

Iridium Communications, led by CEO, pilot, and longtime AOPA Trustee Matt Desch, operates  a voice and data satellite communications network that covers the entire planet. Currently, Iridium’s products are installed in 68,000 aircraft around the world, including airliners, military aircraft, medevac helicopters, and business jets.

“I’ve always looked for other ways to see us be relevant and make flying safer and make it easier,” Desch said. “The idea that we could take something portable, just like we did with ADS-B-In…there should be a portable connectivity unit."

Previous portable products from Iridium, like the Iridium GO!, were exceptionally small and did voice and basic texting well but weren’t fast enough to do much else with their low data speeds.

Iridium GO! exec, powered by Iridium’s Certus 100 midband service, is capable of transmit speeds of up to 22 Kbps and receive speeds of 88 Kbps and allows users to make phone calls through its built-in speaker or smartphone app, send texts, browse the internet, scroll social media, send and receive email, and more. The device is capable of multi-user access and supports up to two voice calls or multiple data connections concurrently. It also supports emergency (SOS) communications through third-party service provider.

The Iridium GO! exec is designed to be rugged and ultra-portable. Weighing in at just over 2.5 pounds, it’s small enough to fit in a backpack or on an aircraft’s glareshield. The device can withstand temperatures between minus 4- and 122 degrees Fahrenheit with enough battery life to allow six hours of talk time and 24 hours of standby time. It also boasts dual USB-C, ethernet, and external antenna/GPS ports and can be used as a power bank to charge devices.

Iridium is not the only satellite company in the world,” Desch said, “but it’s the only one that covers 100 percent of the world…no one has a product like this that has portability and speed…This is a brand new category of product."

Custom applications for the device can be developed for the Iridium Go! exec through Iridium’s application programming interface, allowing developers to create Iridium GO! exec versions of applications for email, weather, and more.  

Iridium is also developing an external antenna for the device that could be installed in certain general aviation aircraft later this year.

The product can be purchased online at several third-party retailers and is priced around $1,600, plus the cost of Iridium’s Certus 100 service available via monthly or annual subscription.

Niki Britton

eMedia Content Producer
eMedia Content Producer Niki Britton joined AOPA in 2021. She is a private pilot who enjoys flying her 1969 Cessna 182 and taking aerial photographs.
Topics: Emergency Equipment, In-Flight Accessories

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