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FREE: SPOT Gen3 Messenger & SPOT Global Phone

The SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger, which offers more functionality than a PLB and which is less expensive, lighter, and smaller than 2-way satellite messengers and satellite phones.

The SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger, which offers more functionality than a PLB and which is less expensive, lighter, and smaller than 2-way satellite messengers and satellite phones.

Through December 31, the SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger, SPOT Trace, and SPOT Global Phone are FREE after mail-in rebate. These devices normally retail for $150, $100, and $500, respectively.

Product commentary

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.

Alan Dixon on the SPOT Global Phone, getting a water level update for Alaska's Yanert River. In my experience, the Global Phone has offered excellent call quality and service throughout the lower 48 and in central Alaska.

Alan Dixon on the SPOT Global Phone, getting a water level update for Alaska’s Yanert River. In my experience, the Global Phone has offered excellent call quality and service throughout the lower 48 and in central Alaska.

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

Rebate form

To read this program’s fine print in its entirety and to request your rebate, view the Rebate Form.

If you have questions or comments about the SPOT Gen3 or Global Phone, or other satellite communication devices, please leave a comment.

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2 Responses to FREE: SPOT Gen3 Messenger & SPOT Global Phone

  1. Peter Hart October 30, 2016 at 11:45 pm #

    Not sure whether you can or want to answer this but look forward to your reply. I am in Australia and planning to walk the Sierra High trail next year. Want to buy an Explorer SE and best price I have found is Amazon and then presumably get a US service contract. It works out about half the price of the same item in Australia (both equipment and service contract. I can organise a US address. I presume then that it could then be used in Australia using the US service contract, I guess in a similar way to using an Australia purchased system in the US.

    Is this feasible and more importantly legal

    Thanks

    • Andrew Skurka October 31, 2016 at 6:29 am #

      I would view Delorme’s terms of service.

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