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NEW YORK ‚Äď AT&T has weathered plenty of complaints about spotty cell phone coverage. On Tuesday, it will start selling its first phone that includes a backstop for AT&T's own network, over a satellite. That means blanket coverage of the U.S., even in the wilderness or hundreds of miles offshore.
The new phone, the TerreStar Genus, could be an important tool for boaters, fishermen, forest rangers, emergency crews and others who go outside regular cellular coverage.
There are a number of caveats, though. To use the phone, it has to have a clear view of the southern sky, where the satellite hovers, with no intervening trees, buildings or hills. That restricts its use to the outdoors. The satellite is aimed at the U.S. and doesn't provide global coverage in the same way Iridium Communications Inc.'s satellite constellation does....