There really arenít a lot of subscription options. Thereís a basic plan and then a couple a la cart add ons. The basic plan is $149.99 a year. The first time you subscribe thereís a $9.95 network fee too. You can subscribe at a monthly rate of $14.99/month, but you need a 12 month commitment. So thatís really only of any value if you only need the contract a little into the second year; like if you only needed the service for 18 months, the monthly total would add up to $270 and the annual would be $300.
Messenger Devices Service Plans
For the basic subscription you get unlimited messages in the categories. SOS, Help!, Check-in, Custom Message and Tracking. Thereís no per-message fee like some trackers charge. Messages are one way, only.
With the Gen 3 you can get Enhanced Tracking Features for +$49.95 a year (Enhanced) and +$149.99 (Extreme). Basic tracking pings your location every 10 minutes for up to 24 hours, before you have to reset. Enhanced tracking allows you to select ping rates ranging from every 5 minutes up to 60 minutes, continuous without reset. Extreme tracking pings you location every 2.5 minutes, also continuous without reset.
Honestly, Iím not sure what the benefits are of these enhanced tracking features. Iíve certainly never thought I needed more or less pings. However, the track thatís created by SPOT can be converted over to a .gpx file to services like Google Earth (and in ďtrackĒ form) so perhaps there people that are creating sophisticated tracks with the SPOT. On the longer periods between pings, perhaps travelers just donít want their tracking maps to show their route or maybe they want fewer tracking points on their spotwalla or spot adventures maps. I will say that the tracking pings are not communicated to those you have monitoring your progress so that probably isnít an issue.
An add-on that I donít think was available back when I first signed up is GEOS. Thatís a Search-And-Rescue benefit that provides up to $100,000. The annual fee is $17.99/year. Iím not sure what this is exactly. If this is an emergency evacuation benefit, that would be a good price. I had once signed up to Travel Guard (AIG Insurance) for their travel insurance including emergency evac and that ran about $80 for the month of travel. I actually may look into this a little more.
Thatís really it. The features of the GEN 3 really arenít that much better than my GEN 2, which is probably why theyíre throwing out such a good deal. Unlike the GEN 2, the GEN 3 detects movement and turns on/shuts off the device to save battery life. My experience was 2-3 days on 3 AAAs. Unlike the GEN 2, the GEN 3 has a USB power lead, so it can be hardwired or powered by an accessory outlet.