SpaceX’s Starlink division has invited a number of potential users to try a “Global Roaming” service for $200 a month, saying the new plan “enables your Starlink to connect from almost anywhere on the planet.” the country in the world.”
“Global Roaming uses Starlink’s inter-satellite links (also known as space lasers) to provide connectivity around the world. Since this is a new technology, you can expect Starlink’s typical high-speed, low-latency service mixed with short periods of poor connectivity , or none at all. However, this will improve dramatically over time,” according to an email from Starlink shared on Reddit. Average Starlink speeds have dropped as more users sign up for the satellite service, speed test data shows.
It appears that at least some of the Global Roaming invites have been sent to people who are still on the waiting list for Starlink’s regular internet service. “Participating in Global Roaming will not affect your place in the residential service queue,” the Starlink email said.
Global roaming requires a $599 upfront payment for the Starlink hardware kit in addition to the $200 monthly price. Users not satisfied with Global Roaming “can return within 30 days for a full hardware refund,” the email said. The basic residential Starlink service costs $110 per month and has the same hardware cost of $599.
Invitations sent to people outside of Starlink’s service areas
PCMag reported that “SpaceX has sent the message to at least two people who live in countries where Starlink is not available,” including Greenland. That seems to indicate that SpaceX could use the roaming service to get Starlink to countries where governments haven’t approved it.
But the invitation email states that the roaming service is subject to regulatory approval and suggests that it should only be used in “authorized” areas:
Currently, payment for global roaming is only available in US dollars. If you are located outside of the US, you are also responsible for acting as the importer of record for the Starlink kit, including payment of customs duties and import taxes, if required. Global roaming services are subject to regulatory approvals. Find a list of authorized areas on the Starlink map.
The $200 per month price surprised some users. “It’s a great idea and it’s exactly what I want, but $200 a month is getting way too expensive for most travelers I know,” one person wrote on the Starlink subreddit.
Other Starlink portability options
Starlink already offers an RV service for $135 a month “with a one-time cost of $599 for portable hardware or $2,500 for in-motion hardware.” But Starlink for RVs is limited to the user’s continent and often receives slower speeds than the Standard plan. Customers who use Starlink for motorhomes abroad for more than two months must move their account to the new location or purchase an additional Starlink.
Starlink also charges residential users an additional $25 monthly fee for portability, allowing use in “secondary locations” within the user’s continent. The Starlink portability and RV options both have lower service levels than standard Starlink subscriptions.
“Starlink RV and portable users will be optimally served and can expect lower levels of service than regular users, particularly in areas marked as ‘Low Capacity’ on the coverage map. Service degradation will be most extreme in ‘Low Capacity’ areas during peak hours. according to SpaceX’s support FAQ for the RV and portability services.
Starlink’s terms of service state that portability users are “solely responsible for (a) understanding and complying with all applicable laws and regulations related to your use of Portability Services and the Kit; and (b) discontinuing use of the Portability Services or Kit if you are in an unsupported geographic location.”
In addition, users of the existing portability option who reside at a secondary location for extended periods of time may experience further performance degradation to accommodate priority users at their registered service addresses. SpaceX has not yet posted a support FAQ for the Global Roaming service, but it would presumably have fewer limitations than Starlink’s existing portability options.
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