The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

New Iridium Go! exec

Predict Wind have a preliminary announcement video for a new faster version of the Iridium GO!.

Not a lot of details yet, but it’s supposedly a lot faster, although not fast enough to use for actual internet surfing.

The big drawback will be if the unlimited data package available with the original GO! is not offered with this new unit or is a lot more expensive.

I’m guessing it might not be the great deal that the unlimited plan on the original unit is since the new GO! uses the Certus modem like Iridium Pro.

If no unlimited plan is offered, or a much more expensive one, I’m thinking that for many users who are just looking to download email and weather information at sea the original GO! may still be the best option since I have never had any problems getting all the weather data and email I need over the older unit.

Definitely the key thing to look into and clearly understand before purchasing one of these new units is the availability and cost of an unlimited plan.

One upgrade I did like is that the new unit has a speaker and microphone and so can be used for telephone calls without connecting a smartphone. This is a big safety benefit since there have been incidents with the old GO! where users were not able to get voice communications working quickly in an emergency.

Here’s the intro video, not that it’s much use:

And here’s a Q&A that might be more useful.

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Jonathan Schwartz

I asked some questions of PW and was told that there would not be an unlimited plan for the Exec, at least not for now. They don’t seem to think that the old Go service or the unlimited option for it are going to be phased out anytime soon.

Also from the PW responses to my questions: The Exec has a Certus 100 modem in it. Download speeds are up to 88 kbps, upload speeds are up to 22kbps. The unit is powered from a USB-C connector, and comes with a USB-C, 5 Volt, 3 amp power adaptor. It uses around 15 Watts on transmit/receive and 5 watts standby. The battery is built into the unit and is not user replaceable. An Ethernet port is built into the unit. The external antenna being offered from PW looks the same as the older one for the Go, but has Certus 100 internals. Automated position reports from the Exec are no longer sent as messages and must be sent as data from an external device (like the PW DataHub).

Carolyn Rosner

Hi all, we are starting to do some research on Iridium. It seems that as of August 2023, they do offer a few tiers of data and voice, which provides more options — (scroll down for their airtime plans). It seems quite a bit faster than the original GO!, but not as fast or spendy as Starlink Maritime.

Carolyn Rosner

Couldn’t edit my comment above, but I should add that there is an Unlimited option for Exec, as well.

Carolyn Rosner

Thanks, John. Yep, I agree that the original Go! may still be the best bet. It’s a lot to sort out; thanks for all the resources here, especially the weather analysis procedures!

Michael Hiscock

Coming down the Pacific Coast from Victoria, about 80% of the boats we have met have Starlink. We purchased it in Mexico, and it is less than half the price of Iridium. The added bonus is not having to deal with Iridium’s clunky apps. While we are keeping our Iridium for those few areas not covered by SL, it won’t be long until we shut it down except for ocean crossings.

Rene Blei

Hi John,
Looking into the availability and other possible issues with Starlink and it looks like it is still very much a project under construction. In Europe they seem to have less problems than in North America? But just read that a few motorhome manufacturers now come with Starlink “built-in” and hopefully that means for those who are on the move, but on the hook/docked wont be billed with extra roaming charges.
Time will tell.
Thank you

Philip Merlier

Hello John:
The new Predict Wind Iridium Go Exec device does indeed have a subscription plan that limits data according to how much one pays. Ie: $159.95/month buys you only 50MB of data. That includes all data transfer including tracking data.
Question: Do you happen to have a clue how much data you found that you used, on the average, per month with the original Iridium Go device? I am just trying to figure out what size plan would be needed in order to not have to worry about constantly hitting the ceiling towards the end of the month. I believe you & I would have similar usage (that is forecasts & basic emails). Thank you

Robin Wessel

Did some data transfer math, and the original Iridium has a real-world average data rate of 1.33 kbs or 10kB/min. 50MB of data using the original Iridium Go would take 85 hours to transfer in perfect conditions! This sounds really painful and completely unrealistic for the older unit.

50MB is equal to 2,500 standard-size GRIB files typical for the Go so if you used the Exec like the original, 50MB would last a really long time.

The advantage of the exec is that one can now download much larger areas with higher resolution with a device that is effectively always connected to the satellite so the process is a lot faster and easier. Predictwind suggests that with a 50MB plan you can download 9-150kB weather files per day and still be under the 50MB allowance.

Rob Gill

Thanks Robin, nice analysis.

Add to the advantage you mention, the time saved from time-outs mid grib, or mid email download, and frustrating dropped voice calls, this could be a good upgrade for us.

We have to accept that this won’t facilitate social media updates and web browsing – but isn’t that half the point of getting out there?

I really like that the Exec can act as an emergency sat phone without connecting a secondary mobile device – this could cost justify the purchase for us alone.

Can anyone confirm if we can use the existing Iridium Go external antenna and cables?

Philip Merlier

Hello John:
I am interested in the answer of another question based on your real life experience.
When sailing in the North (ie: Newfoundland & Labrador) we often find ourselves at anchorages that are surrounded by high rocky hills (as in fjords).
Question: Do such situations limit the reception of the Iridium Go device since it does not have an uninhibited view of the horizon?
One of the reasons I ask is because the newer Exec device data transfer occurs at a much faster rate so I would guess that reception would be much better because it’s “task” would be done in a shorter period of time while the satellite passed over in the limited sky area.
I am just trying to sort out the potential benefits of the new Exec vs the older standard Go units.
Thanks so much for your help.