Seven months beyond the date when Elon Musk tweeted that Starlink satellite broadband service would emerge from its beta testing phase, customer complaints are on the increase, based primarily upon service areas and hardware delivery delays. The Starlink service for RVers and other mobile users has been subject to slow hardware deliveries and an ambiguous roaming policy.
Starlink aimed to address the issue of unresponsive Starlink customer service at the end of April by posting a Reddit message including an apology of sorts for the slow customer service and stating that someone would reply “eventually.”
While that was not precisely what current Starlink customers or those waiting for Starlink hardware were hoping for, things did start happening right away once Starlink posted its response to the customer issues.
Starlink’s roaming policy addresses RVers’ concerns
SpaceX announced on May 1 an actual policy on roaming and service coverage, something that had been manifestly lacking before. Customers will have Starlink service, albeit at “lower service levels,” while roaming on the North American continent, which should be of particular interest to RVers. Until that announcement, service while roaming was a feature that a Starlink customer might or might not have, and there was no official Starlink policy on record. However, if a Starlink user discovered the ability to use the service while traveling away from the stated service address, there was no additional charge for the roaming service. That, too, changed.
Price increases source of frustrations
In March, Starlink announced a price increase, purportedly due to escalating inflation. The price of Starlink hardware increased from $500 to $550 for those customers who had paid a $100 deposit. New customers will now pay $600 for the hardware package. Monthly Starlink service rose from $99 to $110 for all users. And on top of that, there would be a $25 per month “roaming fee.”
Some Starlink customers fumed and a few canceled their service. But far more took to online forums to put things into perspective, pointing out that Starlink users are accessing a tremendous amount of technology for a very modest price.
Starlink explained in a message to customers:
For an additional monthly fee, the Portability feature enables users to temporarily move their Starlink to new locations in order to receive service anywhere within the same continent Starlink provides active coverage. To see active coverage areas, please view the Starlink Availability Map. Portable users are served best effort and can expect lower service levels than fixed users, particularly in areas marked as “Waitlist” on the Availability Map.
Customer service: A priority
So, there you have it. Starlink has codified its roaming policy for mobile users. Elon Musk further endorsed the viability of Starlink for RVers and mobile users in a tweet on May 5, 2022: “Starlink is awesome for RVs, camping or any activity away from cities.”
It appears that Starlink has now prioritized customer service communications and is working to clarify the complex set of rules and details contained in its various service agreements. You can read those here.
I know a full timer who got the StarLink for his RV. That was last month so I am waiting to see how he likes it. He’s a YouTuber so internet upload speed is more important to him than download. When we travel I will occasionally need good upload speed but I don’t even want a satellite dish service and prefer to stream.
This will benefit full-timers not us who only travel a couple months at a time. Just got back from a H*** trip with no internet from ATT Mobile or Verizon hot spot. First time ever this kind of a problem in Palm Springs, Phoenix, and Parker, AZ. No cell or internet.
We can’t just take our Starlink with us as we have cameras and alarms it operates when were gone.
So far I’m loving it. My price went up $36.00 since I first got it but that’s due to the $10.00 price increase and the roaming ability. My fixed address is in AZ, I’m currently in San Diego for the next 5 months using the roaming feature. I have noticed some slight degradation in service but I have zero problems streaming. My concern is now they say that after a few months of “roaming” at the same location I may lose service altogether. Only time will tell.
I just want a good price for data ratio, cel Hotspot prices are ridiculous, 80$ for 30gigs, boost has 50 for 50 but you can still burn threw that quick, if I could get like 100gigs for 100$ or less would be awesome. I know these phone companies could do it, they give data away on phones.
The hope is that Starlink will provide fast speeds – based on test results I have read it is faster than our umbilical cord in AZ – that means we should be able to stream things like Netflix and Prime and what have you. In most cases you cannot do that with any provider – AT&T – Verizon – what have you. You should not be streaming with RV park WiFi as it takes away from everyone else. So for those who want high speed internet anywhere we go on this continent it seems Starlink is the only answer. Between our Verizon phones and DirecTV we pay more per month as it is. We paid about $1,500 for our DirecTV Dish and a lot for phones etc so we can get communications wherever we go. But we don’t get everything everywhere and Starlink could and should be the answer to all those shortcomings. Sounds like a deal to me.
Great service, especially for those who boondock and are full time RVers. This tremendous job, took hundreds of satellites strategically placed in precise orbits. The latest benefit was when Musk ordered this satellite network to stop the Russians, who were jamming the Ukrainian communications! By sending a line of code through this satellite network, it halted the Russians nefarious actions against the Ukrainian Citizens, and Military, fighting back the invasion. Thanks to Musk, that was truly a lifesaver action to help!
Notice they said service away from the cities. No guarantees. What about campgrounds with a bunch of those units too. They can’t overload those satellites. It’s a reason people are put on a waiting list. We’ll know by next spring when the snowbirds give their reviews.
“Starlink is awesome for RVs, camping or any activity away from cities.”
$135 per month (with roaming) plus a $600 upfront cash outlay. Sounds more awesome for Elon than the RVers.
If you lived in a rural area where you might get dsl, you’d understand how significant this is…
Apparently you have never struggled with internet while fulltime rving.
Just get me off the wait list which I’ve been on for over a year.
Nothing in this release would even inspire me to change from my current mobile iNet provider. So far, have never been without service for the 3 years that we have had service over the cellular towers. $50 a month is a very reasonable price, plus the one time fee of $35 for the “hotspot.”
As an additional point, we can use WinLink to provide e-mail service from anywhere in the World. Amateur radio is your friend.
..–.. Care to share any details on this HAM related access? – -.- … -. -..- –… -..
And the advantage of this over Dish is what?
If you are asking about DishTV, none. As it isn’t a tv provider, it is an internet provider. Although with a decent connection you could drop DishTV and stream your entertainment through Starlink ISP.
Good point. I’d not made that distinction. Thanks for straightening me out.
I would love for someone knowledgeable in such things to explain the appropriate azimuth required/recommended to use a fixed or mobile dish from Starlink.
I’ve heard or read several pieces on the pros and cons of Starlink, but nothing much about what to do in the mountains when your rig (or house for that matter) is at the bottom or near bottom of a canyon. Any takers? Thank you in advance.
The system is automatic. There is no pointing of it by you the user like say a manual dishtv antenna. All that is required is a clear view of the sky wherever you put the dish. Depending on where you are it tilts mostly north in the lower 48.
This is so awesome. 2030s will be the decade of Tesla RV + Starlink. A dream escape.
They’re not guaranteeing service in populated areas. They don’t have enough satellites.
so far I’m in a heavy populated area (San Diego) and it’s working great so far