Starlink Mobility uses a receiver that has a wide field of view and improved GPS to connect to SpaceX’s constellation of more than 4,000 low-Earth orbit satellites.
SpaceX boss Elon Musk tweeted that it works “almost everywhere on Earth”, including the middle of oceans and deserts.
The first customers to try out Starlink Mobility are a fleet of school buses in Arizona, SpaceX said, allowing students to “stay connected and complete their homework” while travelling to and from school.
SpaceX said the new service is “ideal for mobile businesses and public sector use cases, including trucking, buses, shuttles, and emergency response”.
Subscribers to Starlink Mobility, which costs $250 per month on top of a one-time hardware fee of $2,500, receive network priority over other users during peak hours, meaning emergency responders should avoid losing internet connection.
“Starlink Mobility provides 100 per cent coverage in your country and every country where Starlink service is available across the globe,” SpaceX states on its website.
“Plans can also be used on the ocean, with connectivity available in the vast majority of the Earth’s oceans and seas.”
— Starlink (@Starlink) May 23, 2023
The Starlink satellite dish, which is a next-generation version of its standard hardware, is designed to be permanently installed on a customer’s vehicle, offering the same download speeds of up to 220 Mbps.
SpaceX achieved global coverage of its Starlink internet network last year, four years after launching the first batch of satellites into space. Despite this, some countries have blocked Starlink from operating in its country, such as China and Iran.
SpaceX is hoping to launch a satellite-to-cellphone service that would allow users to connect to its internet constellation without the need for additional hardware, however some service providers fear that it will interfere with existing wireless services.
AT&T in the US urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject SpaceX and T-Mobile’s proposal, claiming it would “jeopordise or inhibit” its own terrestrial service.
Testing of the satellite-to-cell service is expected to begin later this year.