TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX started taking pre-orders Oct. 25 for a flat panel antenna that enables land vehicles to use its Starlink broadband service while in motion.
The company aims to make deliveries starting in December for an upgraded Starlink for RVs service, which currently only comes with a standard $599 Starlink dish designed for stationary use.
The flat panel antenna will cost subscribers $2,500 and is better suited for moving vehicles because its wide area of view can connect to more satellites, according to SpaceX. The company has warned customers that using any other Starlink dish on the go will void their limited warranty.
Despite being primarily marketed to owners of RVs (recreational vehicles), SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the in-motion service works “on any moving land object” that can fit a dish with a little over half a square meter of surface area.
The flat panel antenna also comes with enhanced GPS capabilities to keep connectivity consistent on the go, SpaceX said, is “resilient in harsh environments,” and is designed for permanent installation on a vehicle.
Starlink for RVs will cost the same $135 per month in the U.S., regardless of the antenna, for connection speeds that are throttled during peak hours to prioritize customers on residential and other Starlink service plans.
The new service will be ready before the end of the year for “select markets” where Starlink has regulatory clearances for providing in-motion connectivity, the company said.
These markets include the United States, although SpaceX says current capacity constraints mean high-speed, low-latency services are not guaranteed around the country’s southeast during peak hours.
The standard Starlink for RVs antenna remains available and can be shipped within two weeks — even to customers in low-capacity areas subject to waitlists extending into 2023 on other Starlink service plans.
Starlink for RVs had more than 100,000 customers as of the middle of October despite being launched just five months earlier.
Customers that want to use the service on the move must install Starlink’s flat panel antenna with a wedge mount that is included in their kit, according to SpaceX’s website.
Those not confident in their DIY skills can use third-party installers from companies that include Winegard, a connectivity equipment provider that announced a reseller agreement with Starlink Oct. 25.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission gave Starlink permission June 30 to connect vehicles, boats and aircraft on the move.
Starlink launched a maritime-focused service plan a week later, and in Oct. 18 started accepting pre-orders for customers looking to use the broadband network in the air.