Telstra to sell Starlink satellite internet plans: What to watch out for
Telstra will sell the Elon Musk-owned service - will that appeal to regional users?
Telstra has announced that it will offer satellite internet plans and voice services to rural and remote Australians in a partnership with Elon Musk-owned service Starlink.
Under the deal, Telstra will offer voice services and optional installation - two features that Starlink itself doesn't offer to customers.
The launch is expected to happen in late 2023 and pricing information will only be made available closer to time.
But if you need a benchmark, here's how much it costs to get connected to Starlink:
- Plan fees: $139 per month for unlimited data
- Hardware fees: $924 (includes Starlink dish, router, power supply, cables and mounting tripod)
- Shipping fee: $100–$150
How will Telstra's satellite internet plan be different to Starlink?
There are 2 key differences to the regular Starlink service which Telstra is emphasising.
"What will set our offer apart is the addition of Telstra voice service, a professional install option and the ability to get local help with your set up if needed," said Telstra CEO Vicki Brady. Telstra plans to sell voice-only and voice plus broadband packages, but won't sell standalone broadband access via Starlink.
The voice service isn't something Starlink itself offers, so the Telstra deal will give customers access to an old-fashioned landline, something which may have appeal in remote areas with limited mobile coverage. It'll also help households get access to customer support help.
Starlink also doesn't help with the installation process either, so Telstra's professional installation feature may appeal to less tech-savvy customers.
"Telstra currently uses a mix of technologies to provide voice and broadband services in rural and remote Australia, including NBN fixed wireless, Telstra's own mobile network and older copper and radio networks," Brady said.
"Starlink will provide an additional connectivity option for people and businesses in rural and remote locations where distance and terrain make it difficult to reach with existing networks."
Will Telstra's satellite internet plans be worth it?
It's still early days but Finder's editor-in-chief and tech expert Angus Kidman believes Telstra's pricing information will be key to deciding just how good its satellite internet plan will be.
"What's interesting is that you have to buy a voice service, which isn't something Starlink itself offers - and also gives Telstra a reason to charge more than normal Starlink," said Kidman.
"Telstra positions itself as a premium service, so I'd expect the costs to be higher than DIY installations which is what Starlink currently offers.
"Anecdotally, most folks in highly remote areas wouldn't be fazed by putting a dish on their roof by themselves, but the service could have appeal for some users. Given Starlink has been promoting $199 installs recently, Telstra will need to make sure its deal seems competitive."
Its still early days but we'll be back with more information when Telstra is closer to launching its satellite internet plan courtesy of its Starlink partnership.