SpaceX is expanding its satellite internet unit’s enterprise into in-flight Wi-Fi services with the Wednesday launch of Starlink Aviation, which provides users with an airplane antenna in the face of increasing competition for airborne connectivity.
According to the company’s website, Starlink, would charge customers seeking broadband internet aboard private aircraft between $12,500 and $25,000 per month for the service, on top of a one-time $150,000 hardware expense.
According to the company’s website, Starlink Aviation will begin delivering terminals in mid-2023, with reservations requiring a $5,000 payment. It further stated that each terminal could offer up to 350 Mbps, sufficient for video calls and online games.
The company’s latest offering directly competes with primary in-flight connection provider Gogo. However, on Wednesday, William Blair analyst Louie DiPalma stated that the Starlink product “appears to be too big and too expensive to challenge” Gogo’s position in the small-to-midsize business jet market and that “this will likely come as a welcome relief to Gogo investors.”
“Starlink’s entry into the business jet connectivity market has pressured Gogo shares. We anticipate that Gogo will be able to fend off competition because of its unique air-to-ground cellular network. Gogo is the dominant provider of inflight connectivity for business jets and serves over 6,600 business jets with its cellular network and an additional 4,500 aircraft with [satellite] connectivity,” DiPalma said.
Starlink is SpaceX’s plan to establish an interconnected internet network made up of thousands of satellites that will bring high-speed internet to anywhere on the earth. As of June, SpaceX had put almost 3,500 Starlink satellites into orbit, and the service had approximately 500,000 subscribers.
SpaceX has made its first collaborations with commercial airlines, inking agreements to provide Wi-Fi on planes with Hawaiian Airlines and semi-private charter provider JSX. In addition, the FCC has granted SpaceX permission to deliver mobile Starlink internet service, expanding the company’s product offerings to include services for residential, business, RV, maritime, and aviation customers.