Starlink has already shipped 100,000 satellite internet terminals before it has even achieved global coverage. SpaceX chief Elon Musk has revealed the figure on Twitter, where he also listed the 14 regions where the service is currently available. "Our license applications are pending in many more countries. Hoping to serve Earth soon!" he said in a follow-up tweet.
Now serving 🇺🇸 🇨🇦 🇬🇧 🇩🇪 🇫🇷 🇦🇹 🇳🇱 🇮🇪 🇧🇪 🇨🇭 🇩🇰 🇵🇹 🇳🇿 🇦🇺— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 23, 2021
SpaceX launched Starlink as a beta service in late 2020, offering potential testers at the time the chance to be the first ones to it for $99 a month. The terminal itself isn't included in the monthly fee: Starlink sells its starter kit with the user terminal or antenna dish, its stand and power supply, as well as a WiFi router for an additional $499, which customers will have to pay up front. You can see what the terminal looks like in the image above, showing a dish installed on the roof of a school in Chile.
Starlink was designed to serve customers in remote locations where internet options are typically limited or even non-existent. Perhaps that's why customers are willing to pay the rather steep upfront cost. According to CNBC, the company reported having 90,000 users in July, indicating that it signed up 10,000 more customers within just a few weeks.
The service uses thousands of small satellites in orbit to provide internet connection to its customers. SpaceX already deployed almost 1,800 satellites for the Starlink constellation, but it has plans to launch up to 42,000 small internet satellites in the future. Company president Gwynne Shotwell previously said that Starlink will be able to offer continuous global coverage once all the deployed satellites reach their operational orbit, which could happen as soon as September.