SpaceX President Says Starlink Doesn’t Plan to Offer Tiered Pricing

This long-exposure image shows a trail of a group of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites passing over Uruguay.

This long-exposure image shows a trail of a group of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites passing over Uruguay.
Photo: Mariana Suarez/AFP (Getty Images)

Starlink opened up pre-orders for its service in February for a $99 deposit, but it doesn’t appear that the company plans to offer any kind of tiered plan to folks who were hoping for some options.

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SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, speaking during a Satellite 2021 LEO Digital Forum panel on Tuesday, said that she doesn’t “think we’re going to do tiered pricing to consumers” for Starlink’s satellite internet service, per CNBC. Shotwell added that the company was “going to try to keep it as simple as possible and transparent as possible, so right now there are no plans to tier for consumers.”

That could be a make-or-break for potential subscribers who were hoping for a discounted—or for that matter, even more premium—version of the service than the one it’s currently offering. The $99 refundable security deposit offering that rolled in February does not cover the total cost for the service.

The Starlink installation kit costs $499 and includes a power supply, a wifi router, and a mountable dish antenna. Shipping and handling will add at least another $50 to that price. And then there’s the service itself, which costs $99 per month. That might make the service less accessible to, for example, low-income households in rural regions. And those customers might be better served by Starlink’s satellite service than they might be with 5G.

But that’s who Shotwell said Starlink is attempting to serve, commenting that the company “will be able to serve every rural household in the United States,” according to CNBC, or an estimated 60 million people.

If that’s the case, it would seem Starlink may need to seriously reevaluate its up-front costs.