Starlink appears to be prepping a ‘global roaming service’

Elon Musk’s satellite telecoms operation Starlink has reportedly sent out emails pitching a ‘global roaming service’ for $200 a month.

“You are invited to try Starlink Global Roaming service, which allows your Starlink to connect from almost anywhere on land in the world,” says the message, as reported by PC Mag. The publication also received word from two people who received the email who do not live in countries where Starlink is currently available.

The service offers internet connectivity via its fleet of satellites, and the letter promises ‘Starlink’s typical high-speed, low latency service intermixed with brief periods of poor connectivity, or none at all. However this will improve dramatically over time’

In terms of cost, it’s going for $200 for the service and $599 for the Starlink kit. It’s been pointed out the reference to being ‘responsible for acting as the importer of record for Starlink kit’ could have something to do with various regulatory hurdles in different international territories. There doesn’t appear to be an official announcement, so all we know for now is what is in the email – but presumably Elon Musk’s goal was always to roll the thing out everywhere.

Earlier this month, US regulatory body the Federal Communications Commission gave Amazon the go ahead to launch broadband dispensing satellites, despite some objections from rivals in the space. The firm can now begin deployment of its constellation intended to also provide sat based broadband from space, with the FCC deeming its ‘orbital debris mitigation plan’ satisfactory.

Amazon and Starlink are just two of many firms looking to turn a coin in the space telecoms arena, but US firm Lynk maintains it is leading the pack: “This launch extends Lynk’s leadership in the satellite-direct-to-standard-phone category,” said Charles Miller, CEO of Lynk upon the announcement it had sent two more ‘base stations in space’ up into orbit earlier this month.

“While others have just figured out that satellite-direct-to-phone is a big deal, we invented and patented the technology in 2017, started testing the technology in space in 2019, and now have three commercial satellite-cell-towers-in-space. We are years ahead of everybody else.”

We’ve often made the point that while the whole idea of satellite-based comms systems set up to serve areas not covered by terrestrial towers of course has merit, the use cases seem relatively slim when considering the large amount of firms looking to get in on the sector. Never the less, it seems likely we’ll hear more about the grand vision of such initiatives at MWC next week – if the last year is anything to go by it will end up being one of the key themes of the show.


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