SpaceX released a faster version of Starlink, its satellite internet service, at five times the cost of the original.
Elon Musk tweeted about the development on Tuesday, posting a link to the company's website advertising the new Starlink Premium service. Starlink Premium would run a customer $2,500, with a $500 deposit as well as a $500 per month subscription fee, and comes with a satellite dish, a router and a tripod. The normal standard of Starlink costs $499, with a $99 per month subscription and a $100 deposit.
SpaceX said on the Starlink website that Starlink Premium is best for "small offices, storefronts, and super users across the globe." The service, which the company said will be delivered by the second quarter of 2022, expects to give users download speeds of 150 to 500 Mbps, whereas standard users can expect speeds of 200 Mbps maximum, according to the Starlink website.
The company had been losing money on Starlink terminals, reportedly costing $1,000 each to create. SpaceX CFO Bret Johnsen said during a panel at the Satellite 2021 conference in September that cutting terminal production cost down would be Starlink's "holy grail." But depending on production costs, Starlink Premium's higher price be part of the solution to this problem.
A premium Starlink offering at a much higher price could also get it a bit closer to the sky high profits SpaceX expects from the service. SpaceX has placed big bets on Starlink, spending billions to build out its satellite constellation, which is currently at 2,000 satellites in orbit. Once Starlink is built out, an endeavor which could run the company between $20 and $30 billion, Musk has projected it could rake in $30 billion annually from it.