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Iridium Satellites Give Your Cell Phone Extreme Roaming

TechBit Satellite Iridium Communications

The Iridium AxcessPoint which can provide Wi-Fi enabled smartphones, tablets and laptops everywhere via the Iridium network using Extreme or Iridium 9555 satellite phone. (AP Photo/Iridium Communications Inc.)

Want to get email on your iPhone or BlackBerry in the middle of the ocean, or in the Arctic? Now you can -- but it'll cost you.

Satellite phone network Iridium is launching a box, about the size of a cigarette pack, that connects to an Iridium phone. The box produces a Wi-Fi hotspot that smartphones and tablet computers can connect to. The phone relays that connection to satellites overhead.

Iridium says the data speeds will be slower than dial-up, but they should be good enough for meaningful use of email.

Iridium Communications Inc. says the AxcessPoint will cost less than $200, but it needs to be paired with a phone that costs about $1,000. The data connection will cost about $1 per minute.