Yet do date, the field is littered with bold attempts at a phone that could be used anywhere, without depending on earthbound cell phone networks. Billions have been invested, with relatively little to show for it.
Part of the answer is debt. TerreStar is only the latest casualty of a crushing $1.2 billion debt load. The company introduced its Genus phone last month, but it is in the middle of chapter 11 proceedings and it is unclear that the phone will sell enough to help TerreStar stay in business, especially when it carries a $799 price tag.