HughesNet & ViaSat Continue Shedding Subscribers Thanks To Starlink

Photo of author
Written By Viktor

Product manager by day, Starlink enthusiast by night.

What many have suspected, has become extremely evident over the course of the last few quarters: both HughesNet and ViaSat are in trouble.

The reason? None other than Starlink. We’ve plotted how Starlink’s subscribers as well as those of HughesNet and ViaSat have fared over the past few years (raw data at the bottom of the article).

Starlink was first introduced in the United States back in November 2020 and has since expanded into 70+ countries.

It took a little less than 3 years for the SpaceX subsidiary to reach 2 million subscribers – a feat it achieved back in September 2023.

Weeks later, Starlink’s Residential service was made available throughout the entire United States.

Customers previously had to rely on either Best Effort service, which has now been deprecated, or subscribe to Starlink’s mobile Roam plan.

Meanwhile, HughesNet has seen the biggest drop in subscribers as a result of Starlink’s introduction.

It went from 1.58 million subs at its peak (September 2020) to 1.063 million a mere three years later.

Many of its customers likely continue to be stuck in their current contracts, so a further decline is to be expected.

HughesNet imposes termination fees of up to $400 for cancelling existing contracts prematurely.

Couple that with relatively high upfront costs for Starlink’s hardware and it would explain why many remain subscribed to HugheNet – at least for now.

The data for ViaSat tells somewhat of a similar story. US broadband subscriber count, which is the only sub count metric the company disclosed, peaked in June 2021 at 603,000.

Two quarters later, ViaSat decided to stop reporting this figure and has since resorted to saying that subscribers continue to decrease quarter over quarter.

Instead, ViaSat has begun focusing on enterprise customers, more specifically airlines – a segment where it competes with Starlink’s Aviation option.

The acquisition of Inmarsat, which should bolster its Maritime business in particular, and a shift towards a multi-orbital approach have allowed the company to somewhat stay relevant.

On the other side, the whole ViaSat-3 Americas reflector deployment debacle certainly hasn’t helped ViaSat’s cause, especially since it’s at a severe competitive disadvantage versus the vertically integrated Starlink.

Meanwhile, following the launch of Jupiter 3, HughesNet introduced new satellite internet plans with download speeds of up to 100 Mbps, aiming to compete more directly with Starlink.

It remains to be seen whether both can stop the bleeding or whether a change in strategic direction, mostly focusing on enterprise and government, is the only way out.

Date Number of subscribers Service
December 2023 2200000 Starlink
September 2023 2000000 Starlink
May 2023 1500000 Starlink
December 2022 1000000 Starlink
May 2022 400000 Starlink
March 2022 250000 Starlink
January 2022 145000 Starlink
November 2021 140000 Starlink
August 2021 90000 Starlink
June 2021 69420 Starlink
September 2023 1063000 HughesNet
June 2023 1122000 HughesNet
December 2022 1228000 HughesNet
September 2022 1285000 HughesNet
June 2022 1346000 HughesNet
March 2022 1406000 HughesNet
March 2021 1553000 HughesNet
September 2020 1580000 HughesNet
June 2019 1415000 HughesNet
March 2019 1388000 HughesNet
September 2018 1201000 HughesNet
June 2016 1010000 HughesNet
December 2021 590000 ViaSat*
September 2021 596000 ViaSat*
June 2021 603000 ViaSat*
March 2021 599000 ViaSat*
December 2020 590000 ViaSat*
September 2020 586000 ViaSat*
June 2020 590000 ViaSat*
March 2020 590000 ViaSat*
December 2019 586000 ViaSat*
September 2019 585000 ViaSat*
June 2019 585000 ViaSat*

2 thoughts on “HughesNet & ViaSat Continue Shedding Subscribers Thanks To Starlink”

  1. What’s most embarrassing is that my REA coop (boone electric in Missouri) actively promotes hughesnet as a credible broadband option (as opposed to working to get fiber, as most coops are doing). In my rural area, I never considered hughes or viasat since I’d blow through their data cap in less than 3 days. Starlink was simply the only rural option that allows me to perform my remote work.


Leave a Comment