A Complete Review of the Iridium Extreme 9575

There's a joke in the television show program Community, "Brita is from the 80s! She still uses her phone as a phone!".

Many of the millennials who watch the show and would rather send a text message, or better yet a message on Snapchat, can relate to this. Sure, they're still using their phones for communication but the last thing they want to do is make an actual telephone call.

Between AR games where we walk around the real world catching fictional creatures and unlimited video streaming apps, it's easy to forget the main reason why we all carry phones in the first place. You know, to make calls. Specifically, in the event of an emergency.

The Iridium Extreme 9575 is a satellite phone that is only a phone. No games, no apps. But what it can do is make calls from anywhere in the world.

What is Iridium?

Iridium may not be a household name, but the company started making phones long before Apple was in the industry.

The company was started by Bary Bertiger in the 1980s while he was working as an engineer for Motorola. He wanted to develop a satellite phone service that were powered by a network of low-earth-orbiting satellites.

The costs to maintain this network were high. Boeing was charging Motorola $540 million per year to maintain the satellite network. Unfortunately, the company was never able to attain the customer base it needed to cover the cost of the network and the company declared bankruptcy in 1999 after defaulting on a $1.5 billion loan.

Luckily, investor Dan Colussy was able to salvage the technology. He purchased the satellite network for a fraction of the price and renegotiated the maintenance fees with Boeing. More importantly, he retargeted the product.

Instead of focusing solely on people who work or travel to remote locations, he's targeting people who live in low coverage areas or who travel abroad frequently.

Iridium Extreme 9575 Specs

Considering how members of Generation Z act towards a record player, or even a corded telephone, we can only imagine their reaction to being handed one of these satellite phones.

The satellite phone was not designed to impress on first sight. It looks like one of those old-school Nokia phones that could withstand any impact. In fact, the 9575, is even stronger than those Nokia phones.

It's the first satellite phone with military-grade durability and that means its dustproof, waterproof and shock resistant. It even features a wind resistant microphone.

In terms of size, it will seem large to smartphone users. It weighs in at 247 grams and measures 140 x 60 x 27 millimeters in size. But with that size comes 30 hours of standby time and four hours of talk time.

In terms of display specs, the monochrome screen can display up to 200 characters at once and can receive both SMS and short emails. There is an illuminated weather resistant keypad so the phone can be used in any weather conditions.

Stand Out Features of the Iridium Extreme 9575

Our favorite feature of the new Iridium Extreme 9585 is the bright red SOS button on the top right-hand corner of the phone. The phone is a certified Satellite Emergency Notification Device (SEND). That means you can program in an SOS contact and message.

In the event of an emergency, you can send a one-touch distress message to that contact. As long as the phone is charged, your emergency contact will receive your GPS location every five minutes.

Another great new feature is that the phone can be connected to a laptop and turned into a data modem. At a maximum speed of 13 kbps you won't exactly be streaming Stranger Things, but it's enough for you to check your email and to receive text messages.

Finally, Iridium has recently launched the AxcessPoint which allows users to turn your satellite phone into a wifi hotspot. Although we think this feature is unnecessary for a satellite phone, it's clear that Iridium us focused on building a comprehensive device.

Operating Costs

As you can imagine, a phone that can make calls or receive texts from anywhere in the world is not going to be cheap. The device costs around $1,250 on Amazon. It comes with a leather case, charger, headset, signal amplifier and USB cradle. Not included is the wifi AxcessPoint.

To use the phone, you need to purchase a prepaid package. Monthly packages start at $50 for 10 minutes a month or $5 per minute. As of July 1, 2018, they've added an Unlimited Iridium to Iridium option for $35 a month that can be added to any monthly plan.

There are also cards for prepaid minutes that are valid from six months to two years. A six-month card with 200 minutes costs $514 or $2.57 per minute. For heavy users, you can opt for a two year SIM card with 5000 minutes for $4,653 or $0.93 per minute. Any of these SIM cards can also be extended for a fee.

The shows why Colussy thought of targeting frequent travelers as opposed to just those who travel to remote locations. These per minute rates are standard across the world.

This means you pay the same amount whether you're calling the county or another continent. It's certainly cheaper than most telecommunications company's roaming packages.

Final Thoughts

The Iridium Extreme 9575 may not have all the bells and whistles that we've become accustomed to, but as a phone, there's nothing better on the market.

For connectivity and peace of mind, you and your loved ones know that someone traveling with this phone can be reached at any location on the planet in any situation.

And while the costs to get it up and running are quite high, for frequent travelers, this saves them the hassle of having to find and activate a SIM card for their smartphone in every new country.

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