SpaceX’s Internet-from-space program Starlink is raising prices for both Starlink kit purchases and monthly service, according to a new email sent to customers this afternoon, reviewed by The edge† The company says the “sole purpose of these adjustments is to keep pace with rising inflation.”
Originally, the Starlink sign-up required a $499 pre-purchase of a starter kit containing all the necessary supplies, including a user terminal or antenna, to connect to SpaceX’s satellites. Customers would then pay $99 per month to keep the service up and running. Now the new monthly price will be $110 going forward. All new orders of the Starlink kit now cost $599, and anyone who deposits the original $499 kit will be charged $549 instead. The new monthly prices take effect at different times for different customers.
The new pricing appears to be separate from Starlink’s premium service, which costs customers $2,500 to purchase the kit and $500 per month for better performance. The new Starlink Premium service was unveiled this year, despite SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell having previously said the company had no plans to add pricing tiers for the service.
Starlink is SpaceX’s ambitious program aimed at launching tens of thousands of satellites to spread broadband Internet coverage around the world. To access the system, users must point their user terminal at a wide expanse of open sky and connect to the satellites located overhead. Those satellites then relay signals to SpaceX’s various ground stations on Earth, which are connected to existing fiber optic infrastructure. So far, the company has launched more than 2,000 Starlink satellites, and a SpaceX executive this week claimed that Starlink has 250,000 users worldwide. according to CNBC† SpaceX also recently sent thousands of terminals to Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian government.
When SpaceX first started offering Starlink to customers, the cost to build each user antenna was about $3,000, meaning SpaceX sold its kits to customers at a loss. In April 2021, Shotwell claimed that SpaceX managed to cut construction costs, put it around $1,300 to build each terminal† In August, she promised that the user terminals that SpaceX would have made by the end of 2021 would be “about half what our current user terminals cost.” according to PC Mag†
In its email to Starlink customers announcing the price increase, SpaceX praised its latest improvements to the entire system. “Since launching our public beta service in October 2020, the Starlink team has tripled the number of satellites in orbit, quadrupled the number of ground stations, and continuously improved our network,” the email read. “Going forward, users can expect Starlink to maintain its cadence of continuous network improvements and new additions.” There were no details about whether additional price increases could occur.
SOURCE – www.theverge.com