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Digital Nomads Rejoice! Starlink Internet Finally Offers Roaming

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Starlink’s long-awaited roaming service finally launched in early May. Here’s everything you need to know about the update.

On Wednesday, Elon Musk’s mission to blanket the earth with his own company’s internet service taken an important step. In a May 4 emailStarlink announced to its existing customers that the roaming service would be available for the first time on the network.

“Portability” allows users to access their Starlink service from anywhere within the network’s coverage area, not just from home, as was the case before.

Is portability the silver bullet that all digital nomads have been waiting for? No – Starlink readily admits service shortcomings. But it is a decisive step in the right direction.

Starlink Portability: A Brief Audit

The company says portability gives users the ability to roam “temporarily”. (Starlink, a SpaceX subsidiary, had not responded to GearJunkie’s request for clarification as of this writing.) Additionally, you can only use the feature on the same continent where your service is registered.

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“Temporary” roaming can be for full-time RVs or van lifers. And anyone hopping between continents in vehicles will want to consider the border restriction. You will still need to carry your Starlink hardware – satellite and AC power source – wherever you go to get service.

Here at the beginning of the roaming utility, the quality of service is also a bit unknown. Starlink says portability users get “best effort” and can expect slower service than landline users. The slowdown, he says, will likely be worse in areas marked “waiting list” on his Availability card. It also gives reduced quality warnings during peak usage hours or network congestion.

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You’ll also need to stay put while you’re online – you can’t use Starlink portability if your dish is in motion. And no matter where you go, you’ll need a reasonably unobstructed view to the sky to pull off the service.

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Time-lapse of a rocket launch during a Starlink mission in 2020; (photo/SpaceX via Flickr)

Cost and availability

Portability will cost existing Starlink customers an additional $25 per month (a monthly total of $135). If you have Starlink, you can enable portability from your account page. The service will activate immediately and you can cancel it at any time. The option is not available as a replacement for a permanent service address.

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Discover Starlink FAQs for more.

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