Starlink To Crack Down on Usage in Unauthorized Countries

International customers who pretend to be travelers to get service at home will face a shutdown in May

Andreas Rivera
Apr 25, 2024
Icon Time To Read2 min read

Starting on April 30, 2024, SpaceX will begin stricter enforcement of its terms of service concerning the location of Starlink kits used in regions where the satellite internet provider has not been approved to operate.

Throughout April, Starlink informed users in the affected regions that their service was in danger of being deactivated. Users in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Sudan shared the email over Reddit, Facebook, and X. Many expressed frustration and remarked that Starlink is one of their only avenues for connecting to the internet.

Starlink terms of service information from Starlink Facebook
Source: Facebook/Starlink

“If you are operating your Starlink Kit in an area other than areas designated as “Available” on the Starlink Availability Map, we would like to remind you that this is in violation of the Starlink Terms, and starting April 30th, 2024, you will be unable to connect to the internet except to access your Starlink account where you can make updates to your account,” says the email.

The message appears aimed at users who use Starlink’s Mobile-Regional plan to circumvent the residential, fixed service block in certain countries. Starlink’s Mobile-Regional costs more than the Standard residential version but allows customers to use their equipment anywhere within a specific region.

Customers in blocked countries have commented that they purchased the equipment and service plan in a country where it was approved and took it to use in their home country, which has yet to approve it.

Starlink’s email states that users who have been using Starlink Mobile-Regional for more than two months outside the country where it was activated will have service restricted unless they change their account to an approved country where they’re located. The email doesn’t mention the Mobile-Global plans or whether this deadline will affect those users.

Image of world map with Starlink availability
Source: Starlink

Local governments and regulatory bodies must approve the sale and use of Starlink equipment within their borders before allowing service. Starlink’s availability map indicates where the service is available and where the company is working to get approved. Some countries on the map have broad estimations of when the service will be available, while many others are just marked as unavailable. Starlink continues to expand its coverage to different countries—both Argentina and Mongolia recently approved the service within their borders.

This announcement comes after SpaceX and founder Elon Musk recently came under fire from U.S. members of Congress over alleged reports of Starlink being acquired and used by Russian soldiers amid the ongoing Ukrainian-Russian conflict—which Musk has denied.

Andreas Rivera
Written by
Andreas Rivera
Andreas Rivera is a lifelong writer with a decade-spanning career in journalism and marketing. He comes to with several years of experience writing about business and technology. His passion for researching the latest advancements in tech, especially the now essential need for reliable internet access, fuels his goal of educating others about how these innovations affect and improve our everyday lives. When not researching and writing about, you’ll likely find him buried in a good book or enjoying the great outdoors with a fishing rod.