For starters, read my in-depth comparison of PLB’s, satellite messengers, and satellite phones.
Last month I published a long-term review of the Gen3 Messenger. It’s ideal for someone who:
- Values highly the weight and size of every item in their pack
- Desires more functionality than a PLB, notably non-emergency check-ins and route tracking
- Undertakes trips that are low- or moderate-risk and that have simple logistics
- Will be content with 1-way communication
I’ve drafted a long-term review of the Global Phone, too, but have not released it. The high points:
- Excellent call quality
- Reliable coverage, for a satellite phone, and when in coverage areas
- Long-lasting battery
- Compact and just 7 oz
- Very limited texting features
- 1990’s-era screen quality
I have no experience with the SPOT Trace.
The fine print
This rebate program has some important fine print. Specifically:
- New hardware activations only; no device upgrades, e.g. Gen2 to Gen3
- The rebate amount will not include sales tax paid or discounts/coupons used
A 12-month contract at a mid-tier service plan (or better) is also required:
- Gen3 || $150 for Basic service and $50 for Unlimited Tracking = $200 minimum. More info.
- Global Phone || $780 for Galaxy 1200 and a $50 activation fee = $830 minimum. More info.
There is some other fine print, too. Refer to the rebate form, linked below.
Is this a good deal?
Of course, nothing is free. But do these rebates even amount to meaningful cost-savings?
In short, yes, so long as you were already in the market for a satellite messenger or satellite phone.
I’ve seen SPOT offer this rebate program before. But I wouldn’t hold out for a better deal: I’ve never seen SPOT discount its service plans, or a Gen3 or Global Phone on clearance. The best I’ve seen is a 20-25 percent off store-wide coupon, in which case you could get the device for something less than retail and then have more flexibility with your service plan.
The Gen3 rebate is realistically worth $100. Normally it’s $150 for the device and $150 for Basic service = $300 after one year. With the rebate, you’re in for $200, a savings of 33 percent.
The value of the Global Phone rebate depends on the service plan for which you would normally sign up:
- If Galaxy 120 — which includes 120 minute of airtime + $2/minute thereafter, at a cost of $300 per year — the rebate is only worth $20.
- If Galaxy 480 — which includes 480 minutes of airtime + $1/minute thereafter, at a cost of $480 — the rebate is worth $300.
- If Galaxy 1200, Galaxy 2400, or Galaxy Unlimited, the rebate is worth $500.
Versus other satellite messengers and phones, the SPOT devices are competitively priced, especially with the rebates:
- DeLorme inReach: $300-$380 before service fees
- Iridium 9000-series phone: about $1500 before service fees
- Iridium GO!: $1000 before service fees
To read this program’s fine print in its entirety and to request your rebate, view the Rebate Form.