(Globalstar, Milpitas, CA, www.globalstar.com) A satellite-based communications company that offers voice and short messaging services throughout 80% of the world's surface. Globalstar is the second satellite system to use LEO satellites and handheld phones (Iridium was the first), but Globalstar is the first to use Qualcomm's CDMA technology, which is known for its high quality. Globalstar phones support one or two cellular modes as well as satellite, letting you use standard facilities when possible and switch to the satellites in remote areas. The Globalstar service was rolled out in late 1999.
The antenna on the right is used for standard cellular service. When unavailable, the satellite antenna (left) is pulled up from inside the unit's compartment. The larger antenna is required, because the LEO satellites are 876 miles away rather than just a few miles as with cellular. (Image courtesy of Globalstar.)