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Digital Nomads Rejoice! Starlink Internet Finally Offers Roaming

starlink roamingStarlink introduced "Portability" service on May 4; (photo/Mike Mareen via Shutterstock)
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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 took a significant step forward. In a May 4 email, Starlink told its existing customers that roaming service would be available for the first time on the network.

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

Is Portability the magic bullet all digital nomads have been waiting for? No — Starlink readily admits the service’s 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, an offshoot of SpaceX, hadn’t answered GearJunkie’s request for clarification as of this writing.) Also, you can only use the feature on the same continent where your service is registered.

“Temporary” roaming may concern RV full-timers or van lifers. And anyone who hops continents in vehicles will want to consider the border restriction. You’ll still have to tote your Starlink hardware — satellite and AC power source — wherever you go to get service.

Here in the early going of the roaming utility, quality of service is also a bit of an unknown. Starlink says Portability users get “best-effort” and can expect slower service than fixed users. The slowdown, it says, will likely be worse in areas marked “Waitlist” on its Availability Map. It also gives diminished quality caveats during peak usage hours or network congestion.

You’ll also have 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 clear shot at the sky to pull down service.

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 extra $25 a 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.

Check out Starlink’s FAQ page for more.

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