Mobile Messenger uses neither satellites nor cellular networks, but rather a blend of two technologies, one from base to truck and another from truck to base. Base-to-truck communications move over radio station FM-subcarrier channels, truck-to-base communications over digital high frequency transmission -- signals bounced from the ionosphere from eight Terion sites nationwide.
The high frequency coverage is virtually universal. FM coverage is described by Terion spokesperson Tom Doyle as "comparable to a good cellular footprint." However, Doyle said, the footprint is growing and will eventually cover almost every relevant area.
According to Doyle, some half-dozen carriers are already using Mobile Messenger, which allows text messages of up to 1,000 characters. For fleets of more than 25 vehicles, Mobile Messenger hardware will cost $1,495 per unit. For fleets under 25, $1,695 per unit. Terion offers monthly service plans at $29, $39 and $49 per month.
According to Doyle, Terion is "furiously developing" added features for its Mobile Messenger service. Terion's service will compete directly with such established suppliers as Qualcomm and HighwayMaster.