SpaceX, the company founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk, has unveiled its global roaming service for Starlink internet, allowing customers to “connect from almost anywhere on land in the world” with a Starlink kit costing $599 and a $200 per month subscription fee. The service uses Starlink’s inter-satellite links, also known as space lasers, to provide internet connectivity around the world, although customers may experience short periods of poor or no connection. The company is still waiting for regulatory approval in some countries and has warned that global roaming services are contingent on these approvals.
For those who want to travel within their home continent, the $25 per month Portability add-on is available to residential customers, allowing them to take their Dishy with them. The existing $135 per month Starlink RV plan, meanwhile, lets users equip their RVs with Starlink hardware for internet access while travelling, but is only available in certain parts of the globe and comes with slower speeds. There is also the expensive $5,000 per month Maritime plan for users who want internet access at sea.
The global roaming service, which appears to be less restricted than other Starlink offerings, will allow users to pause the service at any time. However, Starlink has not indicated whether it will give priority internet access to users who sign up for the service. Customers outside the US will be required to act as the Importer of Record for the Starlink Kit and ensure compliance with local laws and regulations, including paying customs duties and import taxes.
SpaceX’s email to customers emphasises that the service provides a global internet connection and warns of brief periods of poor or no connection. The company says this is projected to “improve dramatically over time” and will involve the use of Starlink’s space lasers to enable direct satellite-to-satellite data transmission in orbit.
The global roaming service launch comes after SpaceX reportedly struggled to fund Starlink, particularly during the Ukraine conflict. Musk has said that it is “insanely difficult” for a low-Earth orbit communications constellation to avoid bankruptcy. Despite this, the company is expanding and waiting for regulatory approval in countries including India, Pakistan, Cambodia, and others.
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PC Mag reports that SpaceX has offered the Global Roaming service to some customers outside the company’s coverage areas, such as Greenland. The company has not yet responded to media requests for further comment.