Starlink has drastically expanded the availability of high speed, low latency internet around the globe. Their constellation of satellites has created a vast grid of coverage, providing service virtually anywhere in the world. But what about countries that still aren’t officially supported? I get this question a lot – can you use Starlink in a country that doesn’t officially offer service?
The answer is yes, probably, but it depends on the specific country where you plan to use Starlink. In this article, we will explore how to use Starlink service in a country that doesn’t offer it yet. I’ll explain coverage vs availability, why some countries don’t officially support Starlink, and how other countries block it completely. Finally, I’ll recommend the Starlink service plan that works best in unsupported places.
Table of Contents
Starlink coverage vs official availability
The first thing we need to discuss is the difference between coverage and service availability. You see, Starlink satellite coverage is global at this point. You can be anywhere in the world and connect to Starlink satellites, as long as you have a clear view of the sky. Although coverage is not a concern, service availability is.
Service availability refers to whether or not Starlink officially offers their products and services to a specific location, which is usually broken down by country. For example, Starlink doesn’t offer products or service for many countries in Africa. You can’t buy service or a dish from an address in Morocco, but you could bring a dish you bought in Europe to use in Morocco with the right service plan.
Why aren’t all countries officially supported?
Official Starlink support for products and services in a country depends on many factors. Regulatory approval is one of the main ones. Starlink has to work with the government of each country to receive regulatory approval to operate there.
Another factor is customs and hardware approval. In order to ship products into a country, Starlink has to work with the local authorities to obtain approval on the products they are shipping in to customers in the area. That’s why some Starlink accessories and dish models are only available in some markets. The Flat High Performance dish, for example, isn’t approved for sale in every country.
As you can see, getting Starlink officially supported in a country is a complicated task that takes time. Starlink is working to expand their services globally, but that means working with hundreds of different governments to get approval. In some cases, Starlink is working through the approval process. For other countries, official support may never come, for one reason or another.
Some countries block Starlink
Starlink will probably never operate in some countries, like China and Russia. Those countries actively block Starlink services. In many cases, Starlink shuts off coverage to avoid legal or political battles. Even though coverage is global, if Starlink decides they don’t want users to have access in a particular area, they can disable connections for dishes inside that area.
Using Starlink Roam to get service in unsupported places
At this point, we’ve learned that Starlink satellite coverage is virtually global, but official service availability is broken down by country. And in some places, Starlink or the local government can turn off service completely, regardless of satellite coverage.
If you want to get Starlink internet service in a country that doesn’t officially offer service, you need the Starlink Roam service plan. Two version of Roam are offered, Global Roam or Regional Roam:
- Global Roam allows you to use your Starlink dish anywhere on land with active coverage, even outside of your home continent
- Regional Roam allows you to use Starlink anywhere on land with active coverage, within your home continent
Going back to our Africa example, if you bought a Starlink kit and subscribed to the Global Roam plan from the United States, you could get service in a country like Libya, even though it isn’t officially supported. Because Global Roam allows you to travel with Starlink outside of the home continent of North America, you can get service almost anywhere on earth.
Regional Roam is cheaper than Global Roam. So if you want to travel and use Starlink in a country that isn’t officially supported, it’s best if your home country can be within the same continent. For example, Starlink isn’t offered in Serbia. But since it’s in Europe, all you need to do is buy Starlink from some officially supported country in Europe, and subscribe to Regional Roam. Then, you’ll be able to get service in Serbia by simply traveling there with your dish.
Most of the time, you will need Global Roam to use Starlink in an unsupported country, even if you bought the dish from another country within the same continent. So if you try Regional Roam and can’t get online, switch to Global Roam and try again.
List of unsupported countries where Starlink is confirmed to work
I know what you’re thinking, how do I know if Starlink service is blocked in a specific unsupported country? Well, we don’t really have any way of knowing for sure. If you are interested in operating Starlink in a country that isn’t officially supported, you will have to rely on reports from other users, or simply try it out for yourself.
Fortunately, online Starlink communities, like the Starlink subreddit on Reddit, have done just that. They’ve compiled a list of unsupported countries where Starlink is confirmed to work. Please understand that this information could change at any time, and that this list isn’t complete. If you would like to add to the list, comment below, or send me an email.
- Ascension Island
- Costa Rica (officially supported as of November 2023)
- Pitcairn Island
- South Africa
- Suriname and French Guiana
Although not every country in the world officially offers Starlink, that does not mean you can’t get service in an unsupported country. Starlink Roam utilizes the global coverage provided by the Starlink satellite constellation to offer internet virtually anywhere. With a few exceptions, you will be able to use Starlink Roam in an unsupported area.
Have a country to add or remove from the list above? Let me know in the comments below!