There are some good points here. I've only used a SPOT "original" (and Iridium sat phones) in my part of the world, and I'm Not saying it will "never work in canyons", but I have experienced limited coverage. I agree that virtually any satellite device will have far greater coverage that any phone network.

The claims in the article do make the SPOT2 seem quite a bit better than the original, and I’m impressed by the claimed 90% “delivery” for deep canyons in the Americas.

SPOT themselves claim: “in everyday conditions it is normal for some messages to be blocked by your environment, such as hills or buildings….. scheduled to automatically send multiple messages… [giving] overall reliability” I take it this means that it will keep retrying until it can actually send the message, so if you are in a canyon or similar the messages may not be sent until you reach a suitable piece of sky or a satellite positions itself above you, and then the messages can get out ?

I’m sure that (eventually) 90% plus of messages are “delivered”, but not necessarily 90% delivered “real time” ? This just means that your SOS message may not get set instantly.
If you did 5 days of canyoning (as per the article) I guess people would go in and out of the narrows of the canyon and perhaps its then that their SPOT messages were sent (90%). But if you were stationary with a causality in the narrows of the canyon I wonder if the message would get out ? Of course no other device would work there either !

But I’m not really wanting to discuss canyoning – it is a fairly specific circumstance.

For general outdoor, open sky use SPOT or sat phone – no problem.
In more confined, deep valleys, I have seen issues with original SPOT and do need to resend – it looks like SPOT2 automatically resends, so this is a real plus; and I have also had problems getting signal with my sat phone.

As Comms says the overall SPOT and PLB coverage is fantastic– I urge everyone to buy a SPOT or PLB or similar device and don’t leave home without it. (And don’t forget spare batteries/useby dates)

And I’m not saying “don’t get a SPOT or PLB”, just pointing out that EVERY technology does have some limitations even if most people may never encounter them.

That’s it !