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Telstra begins Starlink service for residents in remote Australia

Telstra has become the first of the big two telcos to make Starlink available to residential homes in remote areas.

Previously, access to the SpaceX-backed internet service was only available through Starlink directly or via smaller third-party providers such as Sky Mesh, Activ8me, or Ipstar.

On Monday, Telstra announced it had opened the service up to home users after “months of comprehensive testing”, with typical peak speeds of 50Mbps download and 10Mbps upload. It follows the telco releasing it to business customers late last year.

Starlink provides its service via thousands of LEO satellites as opposed to the two geostationary satellites that power the rival NBN Sky Muster service.


LEO satellites operate closer to earth, reducing the latency found via traditional geostationary satellites, equalling quicker speeds for users.

Telstra’s move significantly comes before Optus begins its own Starlink service straight to mobiles, beginning later this year.

The agreement is unique because it will not require customers to obtain any specific hardware and will instead work on all compatible handsets.

Currently, the telco’s traditional service is unavailable across 60 per cent of Australia’s landmass, but the new tie-up will boost connectivity to almost 100 per cent.


Optus’ Matt Williams previously said the agreement meant it would provide mobile coverage to 98.5 per cent of Australia’s population through its existing network.

“Australia’s vastness and terrain can make it difficult for any operator to provide mobile coverage everywhere it is needed – especially in remote or hard-to-reach locations,” he said.

“Our work with SpaceX aims to bring the coverage capabilities of satellites direct to compatible mobile handsets without the need for customers to buy additional equipment. This partnership builds on our proud history of satellite innovation in Australia.

“This is a truly innovative model for Australia – connecting satellites to standard mobile phones – and a significant evolution beyond the services SpaceX has provided in Australia to date. It will create a unique experience for Optus customers.”

Optus’ phased rollout of Starlink will start with SMS later this year, with voice and data following in late 2025.

In December, Space Connect reported how Air New Zealand is planning to roll out free Starlink Wi-Fi on its domestic flights.

The carrier, which already offers Inmarsat Wi-Fi on international services, will test the technology on a domestic A320 family jet and an ATR in late 2024, with a broader launch in 2025 pending a successful trial run of four to six months.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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