Starlink for RVers


“Mobile roaming enabled, so phased array antenna can maintain signal while on moving vehicle.”

Elon Musk’s robot-like tweet was a bit vague back in March of 2022, when he first posted it to the social media site he was also looking to purchase. At the time, Starlink wasn’t officially intended to be moved from the “service location” you initially set with the company. It was absolutely easy enough to do, though, given how portable the Starlink dish — aptly named “Dishy” — can be.

We’ve personally had Starlink’s service for several months now, primarily using it in wooded, mountainous terrain. This means that the app almost always reports some amount of obstruction — trees tend to do that. We’ve experienced speeds ranging between 4Mbps upload to 80, and have truthfully never had a fully unobstructed view. This also means that, occasionally, Starlink cuts out and you have no Internet access at all for 10 – 30 seconds. Not typically an issue for streaming — unless this happens right at the beginning of the show, you’ll likely have downloaded enough of it to make it through this downtime — but for live events or Zoom calls, it definitely results in some issues.

About Starlink for RVers

Despite Elon’s previously mentioned tweet — which also mentions being able to power Starlink from a car “cigarette lighter” — Starlink specifically states that the service isn’t intended for use while moving, something that is absolutely possible when using your cell phone’s mobile hotspot. We’ll get into comparing those different means of staying connected later, but in general this is just a note.

The service is available in much of Europe, New Zealand, Southern Australia and in limited areas in South America. As we’re largely a North American-based publication, the great news is that almost all of North America is covered, including Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. As to the United States, Hawaii and Alaska are scheduled to receive service near the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, respectively. For the Contiguous US, the service is marked as “Available Now” for most of the places you’d want it, i.e. those large swaths of land out west, away from population zones.

a map showing current Starlink coverage in southern australia, Europe, North America and parts of South America
Starlink coverage map as of June 8th, 2022.

Starlink’s map currently marks denser parks of the Pacific Coast and a bunch of the Southeast, Midwest and Northeast as “Waitlist,” which just means that while the service works, it may be slower during peak usage hours.

But those regions all tend to have great cell coverage, anyway, so Starlink kicks in best when you’re out boondocking on BLM land in Nevada, far from any cell phone towers. This is going to open these types of camping locations up dramatically to campers of all shapes and sizes. If you’ve been paying attention, camping has become more and more crowded, and now that weekenders can keep up with their Instagram and digital nomads can work from spots previously cut off from service, I suspect that one effect of this is going to be to help us spread out more.

That, or simply increase the number of RVers camping in general. Time will tell.

Another interesting aspect of the official “Starlink for RVers” is that users of this service are always “deprioritized.” Using Starlink’s residential service, you get the full speed of the constellation of satellites serving your area. Hit the road, and find yourself in a busy location, and you get pushed to the back of the line. So far, it doesn’t seem that many people are being deprioritized, though this may change if additional customers sign up more quickly than Elon can shoot new satellites into space.

Finally, you aren’t supposed to use Starlink while you’re actually in motion, and doing so may even — according to Starlink themselves — get your service cancelled. So if you permanently connect Dishy to the top of your RV, and then pack up to roll on down the road but forget to turn off your modem…and your phone starts downloading all of your favorite podcasts…you may be in trouble. We haven’t seen any reports of this actually happening yet.

What Does Starlink for RVs Cost?

If you already have residential service, you’ll know the monthly cost of Starlink is $110, up from $99 back in March of ’22. You can simply add “portability” to your plan for an additional $25 / month. Or, the RV-specific package costs $135 — so the exact same — but with the RV package, you can pause your service. So if you’ll be in cell phone range for a month or two, you can pause Starlink and save the monthly fee.

There’s also the initial cost. The Starlink dish, cables and router now cost $599. You have 30 days to return them and get a refund. There are no longterm contracts and so you can cancel at any time, but after 30 days you’re out the six hundo for the equipment.

Additional options for mounting are available on the Starlink store, which you can only see if you’re a current customer. Expect to pay another $50 – $100 for mounting and routing gear, though you could also just use the built in ground stand that comes with the dish itself and route the cable through your vehicle. Mounting gear is only necessary if you wish to keep the dish planted atop your rig.

How Does Starlink Compare to Other Satellite Internet Providers?

Firstly, there is no real option for satellite internet access for RVers other than Starlink. The main providers previously were Hughesnet (the worst) and Viasat (considerably better, but still not Starlink.) Neither of these can simply be tacked on to your RV and used like you would use them at home.

That point is now moot though, because Starlink is significantly better than both of them.

Hughesnet has monthly caps, and once you hit them you get bumped down to 3Mbps and you’ll experience even slower speeds during peak hours. Our family of five, streaming video, me working on my computer and listening to podcasts, or just our phones updating and doing their thing, would burn through our 30GB plan in a couple of days. Since there are around 30 days in every month, that means we had like, no Internet at all, and often.

Viasat was a bit faster, a bit more reliable than Hughesnet, and a bit pricier. Here’s a comparison of the highest capacity plans from all three providers.

Monthly Price$160 + tax$213 + tax
Upfront Cost$0$0$599
Average Speeds9 Mbps16 Mbps
Speed After Data Cap1 – 3 Mbps1 – 5 Mbps
Contract24 mos. $400 fee to cancel, + possible equipment charge.24 mos., but more expensive, no contract plans are available.
Can Be Paused?NoNo

For this article, though, Starlink is the only truly mobile option.

There technically are other options, but they come with massive upfront equipment costs, like RVDataSat’s offering that requires equipment purchases between $8,000 – $16,000. Yes, that is the correct amount of zeros.

How Does Starlink Compare to Cell Coverage?

The main way full-time RVers get their Internet access these days is via their cell phones, or a mobile hotspot. We cover the best and current options fofr staying connected here, and usually update that every year or so.

Long story short, though, having a cell phone plan that offers as much hotspot data as you can get + a mobile hotspot from another carrier is typically the best way to go. This gives you maximum coverage, even if it’s costly.

For example, Verizon’s current best plan — which includes 50GB of hotspot data — costs $80 / month for a single line, or $95 / month for two lines. In our experience, Verizon’s speeds absolutely compare with Starlink. However, Starlink is still the better option.

Another interesting aspect is that Starlink isn’t available everywhere that cell phones are, at least for “residential” customers. So in the middle of Los Angeles, for example, you can’t get Starlink service at your home. The satellites are still up there, though, so roamers can definitely still use the service — you’re just considered “deprioritized” which means you may experience much slower speeds. In reality, though, so far this isn’t really affecting people from what we’ve seen, though this may change depending on your location and how many people continue to sign up for Starlink in general.

Why Starlink is a Better Value for RVers than Cell Phone Coverage

We won’t get too into the details here, since we discuss this in more detail — and updated more often — in our staying connected article. T-Mobile isn’t a truly valid contender, they just don’t have the coverage, so let’s compare Verizon and AT&T with Starlink.

Monthly Price$95 + tax for 2 lines$213 + tax
Upfront Cost$0$0$599
Average Speeds9 Mbps16 Mbps
Speed After Data Cap1 – 3 Mbps1 – 5 Mbps
Contract24 mos. $400 fee to cancel, + possible equipment charge.24 mos., but more expensive, no contract plans are available.
Can Be Paused?NoNo

Of course, a cell phone is arguably much more convenient, and serves a multitude of additional purposes, where Starlink’s Dishy provides a fairly singular function.

So all of this to say that Starlink would really serve as a compliment to cell connectivity, helping to possibly boost your speed in low cell service areas and — most importantly — opening up a whole new world of remote BLM camping.

What Others Say About Starlink for RVers

“My co-workers have noticed a clearer video from me during our calls. This is due to the significant improvement in upload speeds.”

@thisairstreamlife on Instagram


“At the risk of sounding dramatic, Starlink might have saved our lives this week.

@thesimpsonsixtravels on Instagram

Videos on Starlink for RVers

Using Starlink Remotely

Literally Using Starlink While in Motion

Starlink Speeds in Congested Areas