Starlink’s satellite internet system could be set to offer a new plan that’ll prove useful for anyone that loves travelling the world. According to messages some Starlink users have received (opens in new tab) (via The Verge (opens in new tab)), the company is gearing up to offer a “global roaming service” for $200 a month — plus $599 for the Starlink hardware.
NEWS: Starlink is testing a new "Global Roaming Service" for $200/mo, plus the standard $599 for Hardware. Will they offer this as an add-on for $65/mo like portability? @RealTeslaNorth @MarcusTuck3 https://t.co/c2vQhtOUL8 pic.twitter.com/kiLMsMkhDYFebruary 17, 2023
According to the message, this service will offer “Starlink’s typical high speed, low-latency service” but will unfortunately have “brief periods of poor connectivity, or none at all”. The message note that “this will improve dramatically over time”, though access will rely on local regulatory approval.
It’s already possible to take Starlink away from home, thanks to the Starlink RV plan. Costing $135 a month, this plan offers Starlink connectivity “at any destination where Starlink has active coverage”.
Since there’s nothing in Starlinks’s terms and conditions that says you can’t take Starlink RV to another country, it’s not exactly clear what the difference will be between the two. However the small print (opens in new tab) does say that “network resources are always deprioritized for Starlink RVs users”, and it could be that the extra $65 a month gets Starlink Global Roaming users better speeds in comparison.
Starlink may also be offering coverage in countries that have satellite coverage, but where its services wouldn’t normally be available. The company’s coverage map (opens in new tab) notes that Asia and Africa are hugely underserved, and is only available Japan, Nigeria and Rwanda right now.
According to PCMag, users in countries where Starlink isn’t officially available, like Greenland, have been receiving invites to try the Global Roaming Service. That would suggest that Starlink is either expanding to those areas very soon, or is offering services outside it's current operating range.
But there’s typically a good reason why Starlink isn’t available in those places. Whether it’s because the company is still pending regulatory approval, like India, or because that nation is affected by international sanctions — like Russia or North Korea.
So right now these invitations are generating far more questions than answers. What’s clear, however, is that Starlink has no intention of stopping is rapid expansion anytime soon. And if you’re gearing up to do some extensive traveling, it might be a convenient (albeit expensive) way to stay online.