Up until this point, Starlink has been meant to serve primarily as a home-internet connection for a fixed address. Now, SpaceX has launched an add-on portability feature to let customers use Starlink away from their home address for an additional monthly fee.
Starlink Portability feature
Notably, this ~$25/month add-on is not the long-promised “mobile” version of the terminal intended specifically for use on moving vehicles. The Starlink FAQ notes that using Starlink in motion voids your warranty.
No In-Motion Use: We do not support Starlink use in motion at this time. Using the Starlink Kit in motion will void the limited warranty of your Kit. While our teams are actively working to make it possible to use Starlink on moving vehicles (e.g., automobiles, RVs, boats), Starlink is not yet configured to be safely used in this way.
This new portability option comes not long after the price of Starlink increased from $100/month to $110/month, so opting to use the portability feature brings the monthly price of Starlink up to $135/month.
This add-on essentially overrides the Starlink geofencing limitations, but the mobile service can’t be expected to match the service received at the home address of the Starlink user.
In areas where new Starlink users would be on a waitlist, the number of Starlink terminals in that cell is near its maximum, and those users in their home cell will be prioritized. The Starlink FAQ refers to this as “best efforts service,” saying, “Stated speeds and uninterrupted use of services are not guaranteed. Starlink prioritizes network resources for users at their registered service address. When you bring your Starlink to a new location, this prioritization may result in degraded service, particularly at times of peak usage or network congestion.”
The company also notes that this service does not replace the need to update your address if you move.
It remains to be seen how limited speeds may become when operating outside of home cells, or if the eventual mobile Starlink may not be subject to such limitations during travel.
Space Explored’s take
I previously wrote about how the geographic limitation of Starlink was the main thing holding it back from being a perfect solution for RVers, and I feel confident that now that the limitation has been lifted it will become an even more popular solution for nationwide high-speed internet on RVs.
While the price increase of the service earlier this year and the add-on nature of this feature continue to increase the cost of Starlink, it still remains basically the only option for this level of connectivity in some locations. Perhaps once other satellite internet constellations launch there will be some level of competition in the space, but for what the service offers, and the in-space infrastructure required to make it happen, I still consider it reasonably priced.