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goTenna lets you text, even when there’s no service

The goTenna is a new device that allows you to transmit texts and GPS coordinates via radio waves, letting you to communicate with other users even when there is no cell phone service.


Most of us stay connected to the world through our mobile phones every minute of every day. Under normal circumstances, you don’t need to worry about dropping off the grid and losing service. Imagine though, if you’re lost in the wilderness or have just survived a major disaster. At such a time, cell service might not be so easy to come by, and ironically, it may be more important then, than ever.

A company called goTenna has a solution for you. Their product, by the same name, is a device that allows you to communicate with other users, even when there is no cell service. The goTenna connects to your iOS 7+ or Android 4.x+ device using Bluetooth and then transmits texts or GPS coordinates (for free) via low frequency radio, with a maximum range of up to 50 miles. The device is not capable of making voice calls, however. The receiving user must also have a goTenna.

The device is able to send messages to single users, make group texts,  “shoutouts” to anyone within range, and even has a way to encrypt the messages, should you want that. If your phone runs out of juice before you can reach someone, the antenna will re-try sending messages on its own until someone receives them.

The goTenna is dust-tight and water resistant. In forests, deserts and oceans, the range is approximately 50 miles. In dense urban environments, it’s slightly less, at 28 miles. It should work up to 100m from your phone, as well, though it’s recommended you keep them close to each other.

The goTenna could be very useful when traveling to remote places (image credit: goTenna)

The company is currently trying to raise $50,000 through crowdfunding and will be selling the goTenna for $150 during the campaign. For that price, you get two goTennas so you can share one with a friend. After the campaign, the price will double, to $300.

It’s certainly not cheap and you probably shouldn’t be considering it as a means of  getting out of paying for your texting… but if you find yourself in a survival situation, and you’re not hopelessly far from civilization, it could be invaluable. If you live in an area prone to earthquakes or other natural disasters, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get one.


Source: goTenna

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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