A handheld ISat Pro satellite phone between the two fixed-mount FleetPhones.

News from the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show: Inmarsat is putting price pressure on the competition with new hardware and software. The ISat Phone Pro handheld unit ($600) and two mounted options called FleetPhone ($1900 and $2300) from Australian hardware manufacturer Beam, are expected to bring Inmarsat connectivity to the average boating consumer.

Besides more affordable phones, outgoing usage charges are down to 80-90 cents/minute for voice and 50-55 cents/minute for SMS texting. Coverage is worldwide on Inmarsat's proprietary satellite network, and a built-in emergency call number is included. "Five-zero-five is like the boater's nine-one-one," said Frank August, Inmarsat's Director of Maritime - Americas. "We're providing reliable communications and a safety feature for a reasonable price that most boaters can afford."