Note: Starlink RV is now available. The article below explains Portability/Roaming for residential tier customers, not Starlink RV customers. Please see our Starlink RV post for information on that service plan.
Starlink officially launched Portability mode in May of 2022. Portability mode, aka roaming mode, allows customers to use their Starlink dish outside of their registered service address. Portability was a highly requested feature for people with RV’s or vacation homes. The ability to take your dish with you and have internet anywhere is a huge addition to the Starlink service.
Starlink customers began receiving emails on May 4th, 2022 stating that Portability was now available. In this article, we explain exactly what Starlink Portability mode is. We will cover the features, limitations, availability, and cost. After reading this guide, you’ll know if the add-on feature for Starlink is right for you.
Roaming Service Before Portability
Before Portability was launched, users attempting to roam with their Starlink dish outside of their service address could not connect to the Starlink satellites. The Starlink kits were essentially geo-locked to the address on your account.
Each service area is divided up into cells. If a customer took their dish outside of their own cell, say 30 miles away, they would not be able to connect. Starlink recently launched a map page on their website that shows the approximate boundaries of each cell.
This obviously frustrated customers who may have circumstances that would benefit from a portable service. For example, a contractor who needs internet at a rural job site. Or perhaps a customer who goes on RV trips who want’s to bring Starlink internet to the campground.
Firmware Update Allows Testing
On February 9th, 2022, Starlink users noticed a firmware update that added a new line to the Starlink app debug information. This line gave a status for “Roaming”, indicating that the dish would now be aware of whether it had passed out of its assigned service cell.
Several Starlink users on the Starlink subreddit tested this new firmware. They discovered that Starlink would now connect in areas where it previously would not. They also noticed that in those areas, the roaming state changed to true.
Although Starlink made no official announcement, it was clear that this firmware update enabled what would become Portability mode. At the time, users did not have to pay extra for Portability since it was essentially in a beta testing phase with no official support.
How Much Does Starlink Portability Cost?
With Portability now officially launched, customers will pay $25 per month to add Portability to their account. When you enable Portability, you are charged on your next billing cycle. The extra fee cannot be pro-rated, meaning you can’t just pay for part of a month. The extra $25 per month will continue until you turn off Portability on your account.
How To Enable Portability Mode
Step 1: Log in to your account on Starlink.com. Portability cannot be enabled in the Starlink app
Step 2: User the Your Location section, click on Manage Service Options
Step 3: Click on Add Portability
Step 4: A message pops up that explains the $25 monthly fee. Click Add Portability to finish the process
What Happens When Roaming?
Based on user anecdotes and early testing, Starlink service works great when using Portability mode. Speeds are similar to the speeds at the primary location. Latency and reliability seem to behave as if the dish was still at the primary service address. This may change as more Starlink orders are filled, and more users are on the network.
It is important to note that Portability users will be less of a priority for network traffic. This is spelled out in the Pre-Order Agreement on the Starlink website. As you can see below, users who are roaming will see reduced performance:
4.2 Best Effort Service at Secondary Service Locations. Starlink prioritizes network resources for users at their registered Service address. Portability Service at Secondary Locations will be best effort and users may see slower speeds during times of network congestion. At its sole discretion, and subject to network availability in the region, Starlink may update the primary address registered on your account along with invoicing requirements if you use Services at the same Secondary Location for more than two billing cycles. If you stay in the same Secondary Location for an extended period of time, and that region does not have sufficient network availability, you may experience further performance degradation to accommodate priority users at their registered Service addresses.Starlink.com Pre-Order Agreement – US
If you use Portability to roam in an area with a lot of Starlink users, you may see your speeds and performance drop significantly. It’s important to understand that Portability is a best effort service, and will not be as fast or reliable as the normal service at your primary address.
How To Turn Off Starlink Portability
Most people will only need to roam with Starlink for short amounts of time. For example, you may need internet service at your remote cabin in the summer. Follow the steps below to turn off Portability and end the $25 per month fee.
Step 1: Log in to your account on Starlink.com. Portability cannot be disabled in the Starlink app
Step 2: User the Your Location section, click on Manage Service Options
Step 3: Click on Remove Portability
Step 4: A message pops to confirm your decision. It also tells you how many more days you can use Portability. Click Remove Portability to finish the process
Can I use Starlink anywhere?
Yes, as long as Starlink service is active in the location. You will need either the Portability feature on your account, or the Starlink RV plan to use Starlink anywhere. You can find a coverage map that shows availability on the Starlink website.
How long does it take for Portability mode to take effect?
Portability can be used immediately after enabling it on your account.
What is the difference between Starlink RV and Portability?
Portability is a feature addon for regular residential Starlink accounts. Starlink RV is a different type of account, with a lower priority on the network. Both Portability and Starlink RV customers can roam anywhere with Starlink service. The major difference is that Starlink RV subscriptions can be paused/resumed at any time.
Can I pause my Starlink service?
With the residential service plan and Portability, you cannot pause your Starlink bill. If you are using Starlink seasonally, we recommend the Starlink RV plan instead.
What if I have multiple Starlink locations?
Portability must be purchased and enabled for each location.
Does Portability mode work internationally?
Yes. Customers can move within the same continent as the registered service address. If you are roaming in a different country for more than 2 months, you’ll be forced to change your service address.
Does Portability work while in motion?
No. You cannot use Starlink on a moving vehicle at this time. According to Starlink, this will void your warranty. Starlink does have plans to support moving applications in the future. Starlink RV also does not support in motion use.