International Communications Group (ICG) last month announced that its NxtMail Over Iridium global e-mail services will now be available to users of Wi-Fi-enabled BlackBerry smartphones and Apple’s iPhone. To support the services, ICG has introduced an Iridium satcom server capable of providing the wireless link enabling BlackBerry and iPhone users simply to walk onto the airplane and start sending and receiving e-mail.
Jeff Saucedo, ICG’s v-p of sales, said the NxtMail server’s target market is operators of small and midsize business jets, noting, “The server had to be small, compact and lightweight to meet the needs of all our customers.” The 3.2-pound device carries a $17,600 retail price. Saucedo commented, “The biggest question from BlackBerry users has been: Will it support both the BlackBerry Internet Service and Blackberry Enterprise Server? The answer is yes in both cases, as well as Yahoo Mail, Hotmail and Gmail.”
NxtMail Over Iridium provides global e-mail service and mobile Web browsing, with access for up to 10 passengers at once. The NxtMail Server is available now after being STC’d by ICG in a Gulfstream IV. Any customers with ICG NxtLink Iridium satcom equipment already installed can add the NxtMail server to use their own handheld BlackBerry or iPhone devices through a wireless connection. Saucedo explained, “Aircraft not already ICG-equipped will require any one of our NxtLink Iridium-based radios at [prices] ranging from $11,600 for a single-channel unit to $45,000 for a five-channel transceiver.”
User cost is a maximum of $90 per hour for the “always-on” mode at the highest per-minute rate of $1.50.