Starlink rolls out global roaming internet service for $200 per month
Elon Musk's SpaceX will soon start offering global roaming services on its satellite-based internet service Starlink, an email sent by the company to prospective customers said. The service promises users an internet connection almost anywhere on land.
Starlink uses a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites to provide wireless internet connectivity even in remotely located areas. The service is currently available in 48 countries around the globe and is powered by a constellation of over 3,500 satellites. SpaceX has plans to deploy up to 42,000 satellites to increase its coverage all over the planet.
Starlink roaming services
In emails sent by SpaceX, which recipients shared on social media, the company said that customers would need to pay $599 as a one-time fee for the Starlink kit, which includes a dish to connect to its satellites, a tripod stand for the dish and a Wi-Fi router. The service is charged at $200 a month and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee to begin with. The service can also be paused or canceled at any time.
SpaceX plans to use the ability of its satellites to communicate with each other to provide the roaming service. Called inter-satellite links or, most commonly, space lasers, Starlink satellites can communicate and share data with each other to reduce their reliance on ground stations and reduce latency in networks.
While promising ultra-high speeds and low latency, the company has also warned users that there could be poor or no connection periods. SpaceX plans to address this issue over time, perhaps has more satellites added to its constellation.
The company has also reminded users that the services are contingent on the regulatory approvals for Starlink services worldwide. A map on the company's website shows where Starlink's services are currently active and where they are still awaiting approvals. Nevertheless, the company sent emails to users in regions where the service has not yet begun, PC Mag reported.
Currently, users outside the U.S. can only sign up for the service by paying the upfront costs in U.S. dollars and need to take responsibility for importing the Starlink kit in their home countries, which could also require the payment of import duties, the email added.
The $200 monthly fee is much higher than the $110 fee that Starlink charges its regular users and the $135 per month that users pay to set up a Starlink on their RV. Elon Musk had previously said that it is "insanely difficult" to keep the constellation away from bankruptcy, Business Insider noted in its report.