Starlinks Global Roaming promises worldwide access for 200 a month

Starlink’s “Global Roaming” promises worldwide access for $200 a month

A Starlink satellite dish standing on the ground in a park.
Enlarge / A Starlink satellite dish.

Getty Images | olegda88

SpaceX’s Starlink division has invited some potential users to try a $200-a-month “global roaming” service, saying the new plan “allows your Starlink to connect from almost anywhere in the world.”

“Global Roaming uses Starlink’s inter-satellite links (aka space lasers) to provide connectivity around the globe. Being a new technology, you can expect Starlink’s typical high-speed, low-latency service mixed with brief periods of poor connectivity or none at all. However, this will improve dramatically over time,” read an email from Starlink shared on Reddit. Average Starlink speeds have fallen as more users sign up for the satellite service, speed test data shows.

It appears that at least some of the Global Roaming invitations were sent to people who are still on the waiting list for Starlink’s regular home internet service. “Participating in Global Roaming does 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 reads. The standard Starlink residential service is $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 sent the message to at least two people living in countries where Starlink is not available,” including Greenland. That seems to indicate that SpaceX could use the roaming service to bring Starlink to countries where governments haven’t approved it.

However, 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, global roaming payments can only be made in US dollars. If you reside outside of the United States, you are also responsible for acting as the importer of record for the Starlink kit, which may include paying duties and import taxes, if applicable. Global roaming services are subject to government approvals. See the Starlink map for a list of authorized territories.

The price of $200 per month surprised some users. “It’s a great idea and exactly what I want, but $200 a month is going to be way too expensive for most travelers I know,” one person wrote on the Starlink subreddit.

Starlink’s other portability options

Starlink already offers RV service for $135 per month, “with a one-time cost of $599 for wearable hardware or $2,500 for in-motion hardware.” But Starlink for RV is limited to the user’s continent and often gets slower speeds than the standard plan. Customers using Starlink for RVs abroad for more than two months will need to move their account to the new location or purchase an additional Starlink.

Starlink also allows home users to pay an additional $25 monthly fee for portability, allowing use at “secondary locations” within the user’s continent. The Starlink portability and RV options both have lower service levels than standard Starlink plans.

“Starlink for RV and portable users will be served to the best of our ability and can expect lower service levels than fixed users, particularly in areas marked as ‘Low Capacity’ on the coverage map,” according to SpaceX’s support FAQ for the RV and portability services.

Starlink’s Terms of Service states that Portability Users are “solely responsible for (a) understanding and complying with all applicable laws and regulations related to your use of the Portability Services and Kit; and (b) discontinue use of the Portability Services or Kit if it is in an unsupported geographic location.”

Additionally, users of the existing portability option who are “residering at a secondary location for an extended period of time… may experience a further reduction in performance to accommodate priority users at their registered service addresses.” SpaceX has yet to release a support FAQ for the Global Roaming service, but it would presumably have fewer limitations than Starlink’s existing portability options.