The Pilot and it's competing Fleet Broadband
offering from Inmarsat are a step up from the portables. I helped install and test a Fleet Broadband
unit for another cruiser. It worked really well, you could even surf the web at something like 2G cellular speeds...but the monthly cost was high enough they restricted their use of the system to email and weather
Im not sure what I would do with 100 MB a month beyond email. Even in the San Blas, over a 2G cellular connection that only worked 1/2 the time (during the day the crowded towers prioritized voice calls), we managed to fully use a 2GB prepaid monthly cell plan. 100Mb won't last long or allow very much beyond daily email. Weather for us is $3 day when there is no other Internet. Add some regular email (text only) on top of that and a handheld could cost $5-7 a day. But the 2GB for the month was $15 on cellular and reliably worked OK for Email.
down the Thorny Path all the way to Grenada
, then the ABC's Colombia
we only lacked Internet in a couple isolated Bahamas anchorages
, the south anchorage in Barbuda, a couple of spots in Martinique
, one spot in the Grenadines and several spots in the southern less traveled areas of the San Blas. Some of those could have been fixed if we took the time to go buy a SIM card for the local cell network. But it's maybe 20 nights over 2 full years. Other routes could be different.
The other significant advantage is the portability. We have the phone
in our ditch bag, so should we ever end up in the life raft (shuddering at that idea), at least we will be able to talk to someone. I really like the idea of a Beam mount, active antenna
and the IsatPhone. Or the equal Iridium
set up for this reason alone. I think the IsatPhone cost advantage goes away in this configuration.
One final tip...if you can get an older Kindle with built in cellular delivery
that has the old experimental browser in it, it works with mobile Gmail everywhere there is cellular service. For free! It's very slow to enter a new email, my wife used it frequently, but I did not have the patience for more than short "text" message sized emails. But she did a couple small blog posts that way.