Starlink Mobile vs. Starlink Standard


Andreas Rivera
Jun 06, 2024
Icon Time To Read8 min read

Starlink is one of the best satellite internet providers, offering faster speeds and lower latency than most competitors. However, Starlink offers several different services, and potential customers must decide which is best for them.

Starlink’s services come in two broad categories: residential service, which provides internet in a single location, and mobile service, which can be used for connecting to the internet on the go all over the country (or, in some cases, the world).

We’ll examine these two types of Starlink services, including their plans, prices, performance, and policies. We’ll also explore potential alternatives—like Visible Wireless and T-Mobile 5G—for those who want other mobile internet options.

Starlink Roam is now Starlink Mobile.
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Just like Twitter is now X, Starlink has changed the names of some of its products. What was called Starlink Roam is now called Starlink Mobile, and what was Starlink Residential is now just called Starlink Standard. It’s a bit confusing, mainly because the company still uses the old names in some of its marketing. Elon Musk loves his name changes.

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Understanding the different Starlink plans

As we said, Starlink's services can be divided into two major categories: mobile and fixed internet. The mobile option is great for RVs, campers, and other nomadic lifestyles, while the fixed service is best for those who live in stable residences and aren't on the move.

However, there are some further differences between these two categories. You have Standard and Priority options. The Standard data options give you unlimited data, but that data can be slowed down if you use too much.

According to Starlink's terms of service, "If bandwidth patterns consistently exceed what is allocated to a typical residential user, Starlink may take network management measures, such as temporarily reducing a customer's speeds …"

The activities most likely to slow down your data are "streaming videos, gaming, or downloading large files." 

On the other hand, Starlink states, "Priority data is given network precedence over standard and mobile data, meaning users will experience faster and more consistent download and upload speeds." So, long story short, if you want to ensure consistently fast speeds, you'll have to shell out extra cash for Priority.

Here's a breakdown of what you'll get with Starlink's different plans.

PlanStandardPriorityMobileMobile Priority
Price$120.00/mo. $140.00–$500.00/mo. $150.00–$200.00/mo. $250–$5,000.00/mo.
Features Unlimited dataUnlimited standard data plus 40GB–2TB of priority data. Unlimited Mobile Data inland Portability Pause Service Unlimited Mobile, Data inland, Portability, Pause Service, Global Service, In-motion, Ocean Use, Network Priority, Priority Support, plus 50GB–5TB of priority data
Download speed25–100Mbps40–220Mbps5–50Mbps40–220Mbps
Upload speed5–10Mbps8–25Mbps2–10Mbps8–25Mbps
Latency25–60 ms25–60 ms<99 ms<99 ms
Equipment fee (for recommended hardware) $599.00$2,500.00$599.00$2,500.00
Best for Residential households High-demand households (remote workers, serious gamers, big households)RVs, campers, jetsetters, and other nomadsBoats, businesses, emergency response teams, billionaires

Each of these plans is ideal for a different kind of customer (yes, even if a $5,000-a-month plan is right for someone). We’ll dive deeper into the pros and cons of Starlink roam vs. Starlink residential plans below. But, if you’re still not convinced that Starlink has a plan that fits your lifestyle, you can use our zip code plan-finding tool below to see alternative internet providers.

What about satellite phone service?
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Satellite internet is a powerful tool that has largely eliminated the need for clunky satellite phones. But there are still some great devices for serious backcountry hikers and others who are frequently off the beaten trail.

Starlink Mobile deep dive

RVers, backcountry hikers, #vanlifers, digital nomads, and other adventurers, rejoice! Starlink Mobile is here to give you high-speed internet that can go anywhere—if you can afford it.

There’s much to consider with Starlink Mobile service, so let’s get into it, beginning with the difference between in-motion and regular mobile services.

Starlink Mobile vs. Mobile Priority

If you're getting Starlink for an RV, a boat, or another mobile home, you might wonder if you'll get a seamless connection while you're on the road (or cruising along the coast). The answer to that depends on how much you're willing to pay.

If you're on a standard Starlink Mobile plan, you can't use the internet while in motion. You have to stop, establish a new location, and then you can use the internet. But, if you upgrade to Mobile Priority, you'll get the in-motion feature, so you can stream your Lo-Fi Beats playlist while you're off-roading or attend a Zoom call while on your fishing boat.

You'll also need to shell out for the pricey Flat High-Performance hardware, which costs $2,500 (yikes!). Here's a quick breakdown of the two different Starlink Mobile tiers.

PlanMobileMobile Priority
Price$150.00–$200.00/mo. $250.00–$5,000.00/mo.
Features Unlimited Mobile Data inland Portability Pause ServiceUnlimited Mobile, Data inland, Portability, Pause Service, Global Service, In-motion, Ocean Use, Network Priority, Priority Support, plus 50GB–5TB of priority data
Download speed5–50Mbps40–220Mbps
Upload speed2–10Mbps8–25Mbps
Latency<99 ms<99 ms
Equipment fee (for recommended hardware) $599.00$2,500.00

Where can I go with Starlink Mobile?

Starlink is now available across the United States, including all 50 states, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. All Starlink Mobile customers residing in the U.S. can use the service nationwide.

But if you plan to leave the country where you signed up for the service, you'll need to sign up for Mobile Global, which costs $200 a month. If you sign up for any of the Mobile Priority plans, you'll automatically get global access.

Mobile Plan

Image source: Screenshot from www.starlink.com

But what exactly does global mean here?

Currently, Starlink operates in 40 countries, including all of North America, most of Europe, and much of Africa. The list of countries where Starlink is available is growing rapidly, but be sure to check about coverage before you travel. (You can learn more about Starlink availability in our article.)

Starlink for boats

Whether for recreation or business, satellite internet is an invaluable tool on the open seas. It's not just for streaming on your yacht, it's a lifeline for navigation and communication. 

Satellite phones are useful, but they definitely don't have the capabilities of steady satellite internet. The good news is that Starlink offers a service for boats. The bad news is that Starlink’s maritime plans are some of the most expensive.

graphic of starlink high speed internet plans on water

Image source: Screenshot from www.starlink.com

To get Starlink internet that will work on a boat, you’ll need to sign up for one of the Mobile Priority plans. This means you’ll pay at least $250 a month and shell out over two grand for equipment. That said, your speeds should be great, with at least 50GB of unthrottled high-speed internet. Plus, it's the only plan that allows you to stay connected while your vessel is moving.

Signing up and contracts

All of Starlink’s plans—including the Mobile plans—are month-to-month. That means you don’t have to pay a bunch upfront or sign year long service contracts.

While U.S. residents used to have to pay a deposit and get on a waitlist, Starlink recently announced that its service is open to all U.S. customers without a wait. So you can order Starlink Mobile plans tonight, get the equipment in a couple of days, and be online by the weekend.

Because there are no contracts, you can pause your service at any time (if you’re traveling to a country where there is no Starlink service or spending a few months at a home with wired internet, for instance).

Starlink Mobile speeds and latency

According to our proprietary data from almost 8,000,000 individual speed tests, Starlink's average download speed in the United States is 48Mbps. That's for both Mobile and Standard plans, and it's plenty of bandwidth for streaming in HD, Zooming into a work meeting, and browsing the web.

What's even more impressive is Starlink's low latency. Our data shows that the average latency for Starlink users in the states is 47 ms. That makes it much better than other satellite internet providers for activities like online gaming.

Remember that several important factors will determine your Starlink speed. For one, your location and dish setup can have a significant impact. In-motion connections will likely never reach the same speeds as static ones. Also, while there are no hard data caps for Starlink service, your speeds can be reduced if you use a lot of data (unless you pay extra for Priority plans).

Note that Starlink's speed and reliability fluctuate depending on your location and satellite coverage, which is continually growing. Those who want faster speeds should compare Starlink to 5G home internet providers and other mobile internet services, like those offered by Verizon and T-Mobile.

Starlink equipment and set-up

Starlink has two different dish options: the standard and the flat high-performance dish. Which dish you get will depend on your specific plan and needs. In either case, the dish will be sent to you with the other needed equipment in your kit. 

graphic of Starlink Kit box contents

Image source: Screenshot from www.starlink.com

There are also plenty of extra gadgets you can order from Starlink, like a mesh Wi-Fi router and different dish mounts.

Once your equipment arrives, setting up Starlink on your RV, boat, or other vehicle is relatively easy, and you can always use the Starlink app for guidance. The typical Starlink setup process works like this:

  1. Find a clear, unobstructed view of the sky. (The Starlink app can help you find the best placement.)
  2. Plug your Starlink dish into a power source.
  3. Wait while your equipment establishes a connection with the satellite constellation.
  4. Connect to Starlink internet from your laptop, phone, or other device.

If you choose the pricier high-performance dish for Starlink Mobile ($2,500), you will need to mount the equipment to your vehicle or home.

Starlink Standard (Residential) service deep dive

So that covers everything you need to know about Starlink Mobile. But how does it compare to the residential service? Can you just order the Starlink Standard plan and travel with it anyways? We’ll answer all these questions here.

First of all, let’s talk about the internet performance you can expect with residential Starlink service.

How fast is Starlink Standard?

Starlink’s Standard, or residential plans, are typically faster than Mobile plans. Network bandwidth for Standard plans is given priority over Mobile dishes. On the cheapest plans, you’ll get between 25 and 100Mbps download speeds.

If you’re willing to pay more for a Priority plan, you’ll get anywhere from 40 to 220GB of priority data, which is faster and more reliable than standard data.

Here’s a look at the differences between the two plan tiers.

PlanStandardPriority
Price$120.00/mo. $140.00–$500.00/mo.
Features Unlimited dataUnlimited standard data plus 40GB–2TB of priority data.
Download speed25–100Mbps40–220Mbps
Upload speed5–10Mbps8–25Mbps
Latency25–60 ms25–60 ms
Equipment fee (for recommended hardware) $599.00$2,500.00

If you like the speeds that Starlink gives you but the prices still seem kind of steep, you can see other internet plans available in your area using our handy zip code plan finding tool right here.

Enter your zip code to see what internet providers are available in your area.

Can you use Starlink's Standard plan for RV living?

So you’re taking the RV on a road trip to a national park. Can you just bring your residential Starlink dish with you to get mobile internet? It should work anywhere, right?

Unfortunately, no. When you sign up for Starlink's Standard plan and enter a service address, it creates a small cell around the address. If the dish leaves the cell and you try to connect to the internet, it won't work.  It is against the terms of service to use it at a new location without notifying the company and changing your plan accordingly. Breaking this rule will cut off your service and your account could be permanently banned.

If Starlink Mobile plans aren’t right for your budget, you can always use your phone to create a mobile internet network or check out other mobile internet services.

Which is better, Starlink Mobile or Standard?

Here’s the long and short of it: Starlink’s Standard service is cheaper and faster than the Mobile service, but you can only use it at one fixed address. Meanwhile, Starlink’s Mobile plans let you have internet on-the-go, all around the globe, but at a higher cost.

Both Starlink Standard and Mobile have options to upgrade to priority data, which gives you faster and more consistent speed, as well as other perks.

At the end of the day, you have to decide for yourself which one (if any) of these Starlink plans is the best for you and your nomadic lifestyle.

Methodology

Before writing this review of Starlink’s different internet services, we conducted rigorous research. We looked at all of the company’s data about its plans, equipment, and policies (we even read the fine print). We looked at third party analysis, read many customer reviews, and consulted our own proprietary data taken from 7,904,805 speed tests taken nationally throughout September 2022 to September 2023.

We hope that our final product has helped you find the perfect satellite internet plan.

Starlink Mobile vs. Starlink Standard FAQ

Is Starlink Mobile as fast as Standard?

Starlink’s Mobile plans have a slightly lower speed range than its standard residential plans (5–50Mbps vs. 25–100Mbps). However, many factors affect your speeds with Starlink, including location and set-up.

Starlink Mobile customers can always pay extra to get priority data that is as fast as or faster than the standard internet it offers to residential customers.

What is mobile regional Starlink?

Mobile Regional is a plan that lets you get internet on-the-go through Starlink’s high-speed satellite internet service. You can travel anywhere within the continent where you originally signed up and still get service (as long as you have the proper equipment and set up).

If you want to travel overseas, you need to upgrade to Starlink’s Mobile Global plan.

Can you use Starlink for Cell phones?

Believe it or not, your iPhone or Android phone is likely already hooked up to a satellite network. But Starlink is something else.

While the company has yet to launch a direct-to-cell service, it plans to do so later this year. That said, Starlink customers should be able to connect their cell phones to the internet via a Wi-Fi network.

Andreas Rivera
Written by
Andreas Rivera
Andreas Rivera is a lifelong writer with a decade-spanning career in journalism and marketing. He comes to SatelliteInternet.com 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 SatelliteInternet.com, you’ll likely find him buried in a good book or enjoying the great outdoors with a fishing rod.