Starlink Roam vs Residential: Here’s How The Two Plans Compare

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Written By Viktor

Product manager by day, Starlink enthusiast by night.

Starlink offers a total of seven different internet plans. Its two most popular ones, especially with consumers, are Residential and RV.

In this article, I will break down the major similarities and differences between Starlink’s Residential and RV plans.

Aspects such as key features, hardware, pricing, performance, limits, and use case recommendations will be covered.

Update: the RV plan is now called Roam as of March 8th, 2023. Starlink not only rebranded the plan but added a Global roaming option, costing $200 per month, as well.

Key Features

Residential is Starlink’s flagship internet plan, which allows subscribers to access high-speed internet at their registered service address.

Meanwhile, the Roam option is aimed at those who want to use Starlink at any location within their country of residence.

It is, as the name suggests, aimed at those who travel in vehicles and other moving objects.

Related: everything you need to know about Starlink

Both Residential and RV/Roam subscribers can test out the respective option for 30 days without paying a single cent. Furthermore, contracts can be canceled at any time.

Subscribers of both plans can switch between them at will. However, switching from Roam to Residential is only possible in areas with excess capacity.

Hardware

By default, subscribers of Residential and Roam receive the same Standard hardware kit.

In case you want to know more about the hardware, such as its weight or height, then make sure to check out the following article.

starlink rv camping
dishy during a camping trip last summer

The kit not only comes with the rectangular dish but also includes a base, router, and various cables.

Additional mounting and cabling options as well as cases can be purchased in Starlink’s online store.

Those who need to access the internet while in motion can do so by opting for the Flat High Performance dish, which can be mounted right on top of your vehicle.

Starlink claims that it’s currently the only designated dish for in-motion use in approved countries.

Price

The pricing of your plan is dependent on the country in where your account is registered in. We keep track of all prices across the 50+ countries Starlink is available here.

Residential subscribers in the United States are charged based on the area they are located in.

Subscribers in excess capacity areas pay $90 per month while those situated in limited capacity areas are charged $120 per month.

Roam customers in the United States, starting on April 24th, 2023, will be charged $150 per month. They previously paid $135 every month.

And as stated above, Starlink has since introduced a global roaming option, which costs $200 per month and allows you to use Starlink wherever there’s active service coverage.

Check out our breakdown of Starlink's Roam plan here

Pricing for hardware is dependent on what equipment version you order. The standard rectangular dishy, which will be sufficient for 99% of all Residential use cases, costs $599 (including shipping).

Meanwhile, Roam subscribers have the option to purchase the standard rectangular option or the flat high performance dishy, which can be mounted on top of the vehicle. The flat high performance dish costs $2,500.

Expected Performance

The performance, namely download and upload speeds, users will experience is largely dependent on their physical location.

Users who are located in areas with limited bandwidth will naturally see worse performance than those in locations boasting excess capacity.

With that being said, performance still differs vastly between the two plans. That’s because Starlink prioritizes network resources for users at their registered service address, which is detailed in its Fair Use Policy.  

As such, subscribers of Residential can anywhere from 25 Mbps to 100 Mbps for downloads, around 5 Mbps to 25 Mbps for uploads, and a ping of 20 ms to 60 ms.

Users subscribed to Residential/Standard are thus prioritized over those who pay for Roam (also called Mobility).

However, Residential users receive less priority than subscribed to Business (also called Priority) or Mobile Priority.

Starlink reserves the right to degrade your prioritization if you consistently “exceed what is allocated to a typical residential user” – without specifying what that means in terms of GB/TB thresholds.

Bandwidth intensive applications, such as streaming videos, gaming, or downloading large files are most likely to be impacted by such actions.

Meanwhile, customers of RV/Roam are always subject to deprioritized access and will thus see worse performance compared to those on Residential plans.

Again, the performance you’ll experience is highly dependent on your location. In general, RV/Roam subscribers can expect download speeds of up to 50 Mbps, upload speeds of up to 10 Mbps, and similar latency (20 ms to 60 ms).

However, Roam subscribers could technically subscribe to the Mobile Priority plan where they can access priority data while on the go. Here, download speeds can be as high as 220 Mbps (similar to what Business/Priority customers are seeing).

Limitations

Both plans have some downsides that you need to be aware of. The biggest drawback of Residential is the limited flexibility of the plan. With Residential, you can only use Starlink at your registered service address.

That’s conversely the greatest strength of Roam, allowing you to take your Starlink hardware wherever you want to.

Residential subscribers could previously opt into the Portability option. Unfortunately, Starlink removed the upgrade for new customers altogether.

Another aspect in which Residential lacks flexibility is the option to pause. Residential, Business, and Portability service types don’t offer the option to pause your plan, which means you either pay or have to cancel altogether.

Lastly, Residential is also subject to availability. Users in areas that operate at full capacity are currently placed on a waiting list.

Related: how to get Starlink faster

Some have the option to opt into the Best Effort plan, but will then have to cope with limited speeds.

On the other side, subscribers of RV/Roam, in exchange for being able to access the internet wherever they want, have to cope with deprioritized access (thus slower speeds) while paying more per month.

Mobile/RV/Roam subscribers also can’t purchase additional Priority Access data. The only option is to switch to Mobile Priority, which costs substantially more.

And if you are unsatisfied with your current Roam performance, then changing locations is likely your best bet.

Starlink, back in May 2023, introduced the option to switch from Mobile/Roam back to Residential.

However, the change is subject to availability. If your local cell runs at capacity, then you have to remain on Roam.

Additionally, when you do make the change from Roam to Residential, then keep in mind that Starlink will use the last address your dishy was located in as the registered service address, so only make the change at the location you permanently reside in.

Another limitation is that in-motion usage is only possible if you purchase the flat high performance dish, which costs 4x as much as the regular version.

Finally, there are also time limitations with Roam. Starlink service is limited to the continent of the registered Shipping Address.

If you intend to use Starlink in a foreign country for more than two months, you will need to relocate your account to your new location or obtain an additional Starlink to continue receiving uninterrupted service.

Can You Use Starlink Roam at Home?

Yes, you can use Starlink’s Roam plan at home. The only requirement you need to fulfill is being physically present in the country your account is registered in.

With that said, you could also use Roam in a foreign country for two months – so long it’s located on the same continent as your registered country of residence.

Additionally, using Roam at your home is one of the most adopted tactics of getting Starlink faster.

Residential is not available to those living in areas with limited capacity. However, Roam usage is not limited by cell capacity. You will experience the lowest prioritization, though.

What Plan Is Best for Me?

Each plan has its pros and cons. In the end, whether you choose to subscribe to Residential or RV is solely dependent on how you intend to use Starlink.

Here’s a breakdown of who should subscribe to what plan.

Subscribe to Residential if:

  • You need a fairly fast connection
  • You rarely travel and mostly stay at your registered service address
  • You want what can essentially be defined as unlimited data

Subscribe to Roam/RV if:

  • You need a reliable connection outside of your home address  
  • You want to access the internet while in motion
  • You need to pause your subscription
  • You plan to travel abroad and take your hardware with you (RV works on boats, for example)
  • You don’t need consistent access to high-speed (!) internet
  • You are comfortable paying up to $150 per month
  • You need access to a functioning internet connection immediately (since there’s no waitlist for Roam users)

In any case, you could theoretically test the Residential option first before you make the switch to RV if that’s really needed.

Wrapping Up

Whatever plan you choose ultimately boils down to personal preferences and needs.

For example, I use Starlink when visiting my parent’s house and when going on a road trip. So, flexibility was of the utmost importance, which means I opted into Roam.

However, if you’re staying put most of the year, then Residential is certainly your best bet.

And if you ever need to take your dishy with you, you can always opt into either Portability (if you’re located outside the United States) or switch to Roam for good.

Feel free to let me know what option you went with and why…

47 thoughts on “Starlink Roam vs Residential: Here’s How The Two Plans Compare”

  1. Here’s my situation I only want to use starling 2 different locations back and forth it’s about 50 miles apart I could go with roaming plan but I like to keep high speed internet I don’t know what best for me so keep it in one place and no internet other places for now hopefully we get phone service soon

    Reply
    • Hi Jerry,

      unfortunately, Roam seems to be the only option at this point (Portability has been disabled in the US). Starlink utilizes geofencing and they’ll likely cut you off if you use Residential away from your registered address.

      Roam, depending on where you reside, could still be sufficiently fast (you can expect up to 50 Mbps). However, testing it out is the only option. If you’re a new customer, then you can send it back within 30 days if the speeds are not to your liking.

      Regards,
      Viktor

      Reply
  2. So I just ordered Roam for my Cottage in Canada, to be honest I didn’t really realize what I ordered until after the fact.

    I only spend my Summer Months here, so after your review it seems like the perfect option as I can pause this in the Winter.

    I do have a boat, but not sure this is available in Canada & if so it it true I need to pay $2,500 for something?

    Anyway thanks for your article it’s great & helped explain it all to me.

    Scott

    Reply
    • Hi Scott,

      appreciate your warm words! To your question:

      It’s probably best to stay subscribed to Roam, especially if you need to pause the service for 50% of the year. The $2,500 are for the (Flat) High Performance dish, which Starlink advises to purchase for in-motion usage. So, if you plan to sail while using Starlink, then purchasing the HP dish is likely required (although some users have been getting away without, so you could test first and then see if Starlink prompts you to upgrade).

      Regards, Viktor

      Reply
  3. Hi Victor,
    My problem is i have purchased this for our gold mine which has no address as its in the middle of nowhere (Australia) for 6 months of the year.

    I have ordered the unit to my home address but what if the first time we use it (down at the bush claim) will it register that as its address if its not moved? or will I need to change to Roam even tho it will be stationary all the time.

    Thanks for any advice mate
    Dion

    Reply
    • Hi Dion,

      Residential is geofenced and thus only works in close proximity to the address you added when you signed up.

      If you don’t plan to use Starlink for now, then I’d suggest switching to Roam and pausing the service.

      Once you work at the goldmine, simply take your Starlink with you and reactive the service. Then switch from Roam back to Residential.

      However, keep in mind that Starlink may decline that request as Roam to Residential switch is subject to their approval.

      Regards, Viktor

      Reply
      • Hi Viktor,
        I,m the same as Dion, outback Australia. My new house/shed has no address as of yet and it got delivered to the house I’m in now.
        Moving into new Shed in July, starlink still in box unopened.

        I hope I can begin and stay on the residence contract, not be force to go onto roam.

        Cheers mark

        Reply
        • Hi Mark,

          should be possible to switch from Roam to Residential, so long there’s still capacity at the address you are moving to (which should be the case in Australia).

          Regards,
          Viktor

          Reply
  4. Hi, I brought a starlink and can I be with Residental not roam. My house is getting built atm and got it sent to my house I’m living in now. It’s still in the box unopened, so when I move in July I was going to set it up then. I don’t plan to use it here at my current house.

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      I’d suggest to send it back then if you’re still within the 30-day money-back period. Then just re-order once you moved into your new house.

      Good luck on the move!

      Regards,
      Viktor

      Reply
  5. I want to use starlink as my home internet but the coverage isnt there yet can i use starlink roam as a temporary home internet untill coverage is available?

    Reply
  6. I have a summer cabin in Idaho where I see the service is now available. For the last several years I have been using my cell phone as a hotspot for internet connection, albeit with very spotty service and speed. I would like to invest in the Starlink residential service to access the higher speeds, but to pay $120/mo when I only use the cabin for 2 months a year does not make much sense. I tohught about just canceling the service when I leave and the sign-up again the following summer, but what happens if no space is available at that future date? In that case maybe the roaming service would be good for me, although I do not plan to travel at all, just stay at the cabin, but at least I can pause for the other 10 months and un-pause the following summer. I know the speeds will be reduced, but much better than my mobile hotspot and able to pause. Do you think this would be a viable option and would Starlink detect that I am actually not mobile? Thanks for your time!

    Reply
    • Hi Peter,

      I think that Roam/Mobile would be your best option. Order it when you’re at the cabin and then test the performance for a week or so. Make sure to conduct tests throughout the day since speeds may vary significantly.

      If performance is not to your liking, then you can always send it back within 30 days and receive a full refund.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  7. Residential is not available in our area yet. They say it is supposed to be available this year, but we can’t wait much longer as we have no other internet options.
    If we went with Roam right now and a few months later, residential became available, could we just switch to residential then?
    If the answer is yes, does it matter if we are on the wait list ($99 deposit) or not?
    If it does matter, should we take ourselves off the waitlist by getting the deposit refunded?
    Or is there something else we should do?
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Steve, you can remove yourself off the waitlist and simply subscribe to Roam, then switch to Residential once it becomes available. However, be aware that Roam performance may not be satisfactory if your local cell is too congested.

      Reply
  8. Hello Victor. Starlink is offering hardware in canada residential hardware for 199 dollars. But statkink roam hardware is 749 dollars. From what I have read the hardware is all the same so why is the price difference and if I buy the 199 dollar one will they let me put it on the roam package ?

    Reply
    • Hi Terry,

      you could theoretically order Residential and then simply switch to Roam to take advantage of the price difference. I assume that they want to incentivize users to subscribe to Residential and not Roam (to avoid taking up bandwidth in busy areas).

      Reply
  9. I currently have a residential (standard) plan in USA. However, I plan on taking a 4-5 week vacation (in the USA). Can I switch to the Mobility (Roam) plan and then switch back to my Residential (standard) plan when I return?

    Thanks,
    Mac

    Reply
    • Hi Mac, yes you theoretically can. However, make sure that Residential capacity is available in your area. If not, then Starlink won’t allow you to switch back.

      You can check that either by typing your address in the order form on the Starlink Residential page or contacting support.

      Reply
    • Hi Bethany, that should be possible. You simply have to change your service address (in the account portal) when moving to Mexico. Starlink will then automatically update your billing fee.

      Reply
  10. Hello Victor
    We live in Alaska most of the time. But travel in the winter to Hawaii. Is Hawaii in the North American continent plan. Thanks
    Karl

    Reply
  11. Jerry I ordered a starlink roam by mistake from a seller. Can I set it up and subscribe to residential. This would be initial service as i have never had starlink before? Is the equipment the same and would I get residential speeds?

    Reply
    • Hi Wayne, you can subscribe to Residential so long there’s available capacity in your error. Just check on starlink.com by entering your address in the Order search bar below.

      Reply
  12. Hello Viktor! Can I use Roam service for more than 2 months with workaround because my country is in Africa and not yet available, I’m using regional roam for Nigeria?

    Reply
    • Hi Steve, Regional Roam should work indeed but you may be required to switch to the Global Roam option. I’d start and test the cheaper version (Regional) first, though.

      Reply
  13. Can I have the residential dish sent to a rural address and then change the address and then also change the plan to Roam immediately after receiving the dish? I want to take advantage of the sale but need to use the rural shipping address for the residential plan.

    Reply
    • Hi Lexi, yes you can change from Residential to Roam at any given time. You can just keep the same address since your registered home address, at least if you’re in the same country doesn’t change anything about the Roam experience.

      Keep in mind that changing back to Residential is subject to local availability.

      Reply
  14. I was on waitlist for residential, but I later purchased roam starlink in April. I have been notified today that I have 7 days to accept waitlist for residential. I have the roam dish mounted on our roof. There isn’t an option for me to switch my plan to residential from roam. Eventhough I have been sent the confirmation that I have to confirm my order for waitlist residential. I really do not want to climb back on my roof. Thank you for advice!

    Reply
    • Hi Holly, tricky situation indeed. You could pause Roam and get Residential but then would have to pay the hardware fee again, plus redo the installation.

      Question: how fast is your Roam connection (download and upload speed, as measured in Mbps) these last few days?

      Reply
  15. Hello, we are currently living in an RV while our home is being prepared. I’m not sure which option is best for us. As I said the RV is currently stationary at an RV park and service is available there. Would you please recommend an appropriate plan

    Reply
  16. Hi Viktor
    Thanks for the very informative information. I have had a RV/Roam Starlink for a year now but was thinking of changing my plan to residential as I am no longer working away from home and it will be cheaper and as you said, faster. I do believe we have local availability for me to do this but my question is; can I later switch back to RV/Roam if I need to work away from home again? Thank you.

    Reply
  17. Very comprehensive article, thank you. I really appreciate the effort. You’ve helped me select Roam, as I will be using it for overlanding and as an emergency connection at home when California is on fire🔥. 😳

    Reply
  18. Hi. I live in Manitoba for six months a year and the other six months in a remote area in Newfoundland. I would like to know what my best option would be.

    Reply
  19. I have starlink at my house. My husband lives in a camper M-F 2.5 hours away. He will be there for a year or more. Should he get a residential paln there since he won’t be moving anytime soon or get roam so if he has to move the camper in a year or two it will operate? Would it be best to get residential and go to roam if he moves and there isn’t service at the new address?

    Reply
    • Hi Jane, have you checked whether service at the address he plans to move to is available right now? If so, I’d assume that to be the case one year later as well since Starlink’s capacity is only increasing.

      Reply
  20. Hi Viktor,
    Great information, thank you.
    I currently have a mobile/roam plan that I use at home, but can also take my Starlink with me while traveling. If I purchase the flat hardware a mount on my RV (so I don’t have to carry my residential hardware with me) can I toggle my service between the two devices? Therefore I would only have one monthly fee.

    Reply

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