Garmin launches portable satellite communication device for Taiwan’s booming outdoor sports market

In cooperation with Taiwan’s Yuan Executive, the Interior Ministry’s national fire agency and national communications operator Chunghwa Telecom, Garmin has launched a portable communications device using low-orbit satellites that can help people in an emergency when they are out of range of mobile communications. .

Taiwan is one of the most mountainous countries in the world, with around 70% of its landmass made up of mountains, 268 of which are over 3,000 meters high. According to statistics, in the past two years, the number of people engaged in mountain outdoor activities such as hiking has increased by 108%.

The inReach Mini 2 satellite communication device is built to US military standard MIL-STD-810 and has a maximum battery life of 14 days. It provides two-way text messaging, 24-hour shared positioning and location tracking, and an interactive SOS global emergency help service. Another feature is “TRACBACK”, which can help a lost person find their way back to their starting point.

Garmin Asia’s deputy general manager of marketing and business, Lin Mengyuan, said the company launched the product in the European and US markets in 2019 and has since received more than 9,000 SOS rescue incident signals. Bringing the service to Taiwan has been complicated and slowed by legal restrictions, Lin said.

However, a growing number of emergency incidents, including the high-profile case of the former vice president of technology company Pegatron who disappeared and was found dead in March this year, have raised awareness among the public and government officials on the importance of satellite communication services.

In a press release issued on October 3, Chunghwa Telecom said it has actively improved mobile communications coverage across Taiwan and invested a large amount of money and manpower to expand mobile communications in remote mountainous areas.

Chunghwa said it launched the Garmin inReach satellite communications service in partnership with Garmin using the low-orbit Iridium satellite network so people outside of mobile coverage can call for help in an emergency. Chunghwa Telecom will continue to work closely with the Forest Management Bureau, National Park Management Bureau and municipal governments to optimize and improve the communication quality of each trail.

Chunghwa said that people who purchase the device can apply for the basic level of Garmin inReach satellite communication service, and after obtaining the registration code, go to the GarminExplore website to subscribe to the service at added value, and all applications can be completed within approximately 5 minutes.

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