Since the public beta launch of Starlink in late 2020, access to the service has been extremely limited. Starlink uses a satellite constellation to communicate between user terminals and ground stations, so the user capacity is tied to how many satellites and ground stations are deployed. New satellites are being deployed regularly, but it will be several more years until the constellation is anywhere near complete.
As a result, many people who want Starlink simply can’t get it. If your service area is already at capacity, all you can do is put down a deposit and be added to the waitlist. But what if you don’t want to wait? Plenty of folks have no other broadband options. How can you skip the waitlist and order your Starlink kit right now? There are two ways to get a Starlink dish now, and avoid the waitlist. In this guide, we’ll show you how each method works.
Use these methods at your own risk! Starlink can change their transfer, RV, or other policies at any time!
With the disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump into how to skip the line and order Starlink right now. We are going to walk through the process using an example address.
Best Effort Service Update
In August 2022, Starlink launched a new line of service called Best Effort. Best Effort is for select pre-order customers only. Those eligible will receive an email from Starlink. Best Effort allows those on the waitlist to order a dish, and receive “best effort” service at their address only.
Best Effort is very similar to RV, in that it can be paused, and also Best Effort traffic is deprioritized on the network.
For those that receive the Best Effort offer, it is currently the best way to “skip” the waitlist. The major benefit over Starlink RV is the cheaper price, $110/month vs $135/month. Another advantage is that Best Effort automatically converts to Residential when capacity opens up at your address.
If you don’t have access to Best Effort, read on…
The Two Methods To Skip The Waitlist
There are two ways to avoid waiting on Starlink to expand capacity in your area. Let’s dive into the details of each method so you can decide which one works best for your situation.
The easiest, and fastest way to skip the Starlink waitlist is to just order Starlink RV. Starlink RV is available to ship anywhere and doesn’t have a waitlist. The RV service works anywhere with active Starlink coverage.
Find out the Starlink coverage area with the availability map.
The major downside to Starlink RV is the deprioritized service. During peak usage hours, such as in the evenings, Residential users in your area will have bandwidth priority. You may see your speeds crawl to single digits. You might also see more outages, which can mean interrupted video calls or online gaming sessions.
The other downside to RV is the price. It costs $135 per month. The good news, though, is that Starlink RV can be paused, so it’s appropriate for seasonal usage.
If you decide to buy Starlink RV, make sure to also put in a Residential pre-order on the same account if you want to eventually become a Residential customer. You won’t be able to transfer your RV account to Residential. You’ll have to buy another dish when availability opens up, or you could just continue to use the RV service.
Transfer A Used Starlink Dish
The other way to skip the Starlink waitlist is to buy a dish from the used market. Starlink allows owners to transfer their dish to a new owner. They will set up a new account, so ownership will completely transfer to the buyer.
The one caveat to this method is that it’s not 100% guaranteed that you will be able to get a used dish transferred to your address. When the transfer process is initiated, the seller will send a request to Starlink to transfer to your address. Starlink will check the address for availability. Most of the time they can transfer to the new address, even if that area is at capacity. But sometimes, they won’t allow the transfer to take place until capacity opens up.
The benefit to this method is that you’ll become a regular Residential customer, without worrying about your data being deprioritized like with Starlink RV. In our opinion, this is the best way to skip the waitlist.
If you are interested in this method, we suggest reading through our guide on How To Buy, Sell, And Transfer A Used Starlink. We walk you through all the details, and give you tips on how to safely buy a used Starlink.
There is one more way to skip the waitlist. Before some recent Starlink policy changes, this was nearly a foolproof method. But recently, success rates have fallen due to Starlink attempting to patch this loophole. We don’t really recommend this method because buying a used dish, or just getting Starlink RV, is easier and more simple. But if you’ve tried the two main methods without success, you might try this one.
Step 1 – Pre-Order At Your Address
The first step of the process is to put down a pre-order deposit for Starlink service at your actual service location, if you haven’t done so already. This will cost you $99, which is a refundable deposit. Pre-ordering puts you on the waitlist, and allows you to be able to transfer your service location to your real address when it opens up for availability.
Use a secondary email address for this separate pre-order Starlink account. You’ll only need this account to inform you when service becomes available at your real address. Make sure you check this email account regularly, or turn on notifications. You don’t want to miss the Starlink email!
In the future, when your real address opens up for full orders, you’ll be able to instantly change your service address on your other account that you’ll be setting up in the following steps of this guide.
Step 2 – Find An Open Service Cell
Once you’ve been added to the waitlist for your real address, you need to find an area that allows you to order right now so you can use the Starlink service in roaming/portability mode. Starlink recently added a map feature to their website that helps us easily accomplish this. The address can by anywhere in the country. It doesn’t have to be near you, and you don’t have to be able to travel there.
Use the availability map on the Starlink website to find a town where ordering is available.
Step 3 – Find An Address Within The Service Cell
Use your favorite mapping software and search the town or area that you selected based on the Starlink availability map. In our case, we selected Hays, Kansas. If we open Google Maps and search Hays, Kansas, we can zoom further in and select a random house to reveal the address.
Step 4 – Order Starlink For The Address You Picked
Head over to Starlink.com and type your newly discovered service address into the search box. After clicking Order Now, you will be presented with a page that either lets you buy the complete kit, or put down a deposit. If you are able to purchase the full kit, that means you can get Starlink right now.
As you can see in the screenshots above, we were able to order the full kit at the address we found. Following the cost breakdown, you’ll see a section to enter your shipping and billing information. You need to ship your Starlink kit to your real address. You also need to input the correct billing information based on your payment method.
You’ll also need a different email so you can create an account that is different from the account you pre-ordered with. You should have used a secondary email for the pre-order, so now use your main email address for this order.
Step 5 – Use Starlink In Portability Mode
After you’ve placed your order, you’ll have to wait on Starlink to ship the hardware kit to your indicated shipping address. Processing and shipping delays can vary. Some customers report waiting months, others wait a few days.
In the meantime, you’ll have to enable Portability on your account. Portability, aka roaming, costs an extra $25 per month. This is what will allow you to use Starlink at any location outside of your registered service address. Log in to your account on the Starlink.com website, click on Manage Service Options, and then Add Portability.
Once you receive your hardware kit, follow the included instructions to set it up. Check out our guide on Starlink mounting options for more info.
When you’ve found a suitable mounting location, plugged everything in, and downloaded the app, make sure you can connect to the internet. When the Starlink dish travels outside of its service address (the random Hays, Kansas address from our example) the dish will operate in roaming mode.
In Portability mode, your data will be deprioritized in favor of non-roaming Starlink users. But according to multiple reports from the Starlink subreddit, roaming speeds, reliability, and latency all appear to be normal. In the most congested and active cells, you might notice slowdowns.
Step 6 – Wait For Your Address To Update
This is the step where it doesn’t always work as planned. You see, Starlink has a policy where they will automatically update a customers service address if they detect that you’ve been using Portability mode in the same location for an extended period of time. This period is usually two billing cycles, or about two months.
If successful, Starlink will automatically update your service address to match your real address, the physical location in which you’ve been using Starlink. At this point, if they update your address, you’ve now been converted to a normal Residential account. You can then turn off Portability and just pay the normal service price.
The risk, however, is that sometimes your service address doesn’t update. In some cases, you’ll be stuck in Portability mode, with deprioritized service. If this happens, you’ll have to wait on your pre-order to become available. And then you can simply update your service address manually from your Portability enabled account.
See Also: How Long Is The Waitlist For Starlink?
Starlink RV and buying a used Starlink dish are two good ways to skip the Starlink waitlist. Anyone can buy Starlink RV right now, although there are some downsides. I think it’s safe to say, though, that most people willing to go this route don’t have many internet options. Deprioritized service is better than nothing!
We want to stress again that you need to use these methods at your own risk. At any time, without warning, Starlink could change their policies. Starlink could prevent users from being able to update their service address. Any number of things could happen that would render this guide invalid. But at the same time, we know many of our readers have no internet options. Many people are desperate for Starlink, and this is one way to get it quickly.