The following guide offers you a side-by-side comparison of Globalstar vs. Starlink. But why do we need to compare these entities?
Traditionally, people living in (rural) areas with little-to-no coverage for cable-based broadband had to rely on mobile or wireless internet.
While satellite internet has been available for decades, people rarely saw it as an ideal alternative. This was largely due to its high latency and slow speeds.
However, in the same way, Tesla revolutionized modern electric-powered vehicles, Starlink has done the same for satellite internet.
But how does it compare to one of its nearest competitors, Globalstar?
Table of Contents
- Globalstar vs. Starlink: Comparison Table
- Globalstar vs. Starlink: An Overview
Globalstar vs. Starlink: Comparison Table
|Year Company Was Established||1991||2002 (SpaceX)|
|Date First Satellite Was Deployed||1998||2018 (Test Satellite – Tintin A and B)|
2019 (Official Internet Satellite – L1 Operation Satellite)
|Average Download Speeds||9,600 bit/s – 72kbps||50 – 500 Mbps (Depending on your plan)|
|Average Upload Speeds||9,600 bit/s – 72kbps||2 – 20 Mbps|
|Hardware Costs||Included in monthly subscription costs.||$599 to $2500 (Depending on the plan you choose)|
|Monthly Subscription Costs||$99 to $199 (Orbit Monthly Plans)|
$1200 to 2400 (Galaxy Annual Plan)
|$120 to $500 (Depending on which plan you choose)|
|Portability||All devices are highly portable||Portable through Starlink Roam (FKA Starlink RV)|
|Wait-List||N/A||Yes. The length is dependent on your area|
|Data Cap||N/A||1TB to 6TB depending on your plan|
|Possible To Self-Install||All equipment is easy to self-install||Equipment for the standard Starlink plan is easy enough to install without the aid of a professional.|
However, the business plan will require more experienced hands. This can cost you as much as $99.
Globalstar vs. Starlink: An Overview
Orbiting Internet Satellite
As a company, Globalstar has been around substantially longer than Starlink. It isn’t strictly synonymous with satellite internet.
Instead, Globalstar is known for general satellite communications – mostly through voice and messaging.
They offer a slew of products to facilitate this communication. Ultimately, you cannot separate Globalstar’s services from its devices.
In the past, its catalog mostly consisted of satellite phones with low-speed internet speeds.
Today, they provide a diverse collection of satellite-enabled IoT devices too.
Nevertheless, since their satellite internet modem is their only internet-only device, we’ll mainly focus on it in this guide.
There is some confusion about what Starlink is. Some think it’s a company, while others think it’s a product.
The latter is the closest to the truth. Starlink describes a satellite constellation operated and maintained by SpaceX.
It’s one of the few consumer products that SpaceX offers to the general public. Now that we’ve introduced you to the two contenders let’s look at some of their key attributes.
Much like Starlink, Globalstar uses low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. However, Globalstar’s satellite constellation isn’t as impressive as Starlink’s.
When writing this guide, Globalstar had 25 LEO satellites in orbit, whereas Starlink had over 4,000 satellites.
Satellite Orbit Types
Starlink’s satellite constellation largely consists of miniature satellites. Hence, the company’s ability to launch and maintain more satellites than its competitors.
Each satellite has an average weight of 260 KG and a lifespan of five years.
Starlink’s mega constellation allows them to cover and support more regions than Globalstar. In fact, it’s available in over 54 countries (and growing). You can keep track of all the regions that Starlink covers using this helpful coverage map.
Globalstar’s coverage is a little more complicated as it offers more than just satellite internet. Its satellite phone is covered most of North America (42 of the lower states).
Globalstar’s satellite coverage is also available in most of Europe, South America, Iraq, and the northern and southern parts of Africa.
You can view detailed information about Globalstar’s coverage on their website. This includes their IoT and business devices.
As we previously mentioned, Globalstar offers a variety of different devices.
However, you can only attain most (if not all) of them through a service subscription. We discuss the prices further down this guide.
Starlink’s hardware costs are largely plan-dependent. Starlink Business is the most expensive listed plan.
Hardware can cost as much as $2,500. On the other hand, the equipment for its standard residential and Roam plan (FKA RV Plan) will set you back $599.99.
Furthermore, only an experienced and certified technician can install the in-motion equipment for the mobile Roam plan.
This can cost you an additional $99.
The Standard Residential plan’s equipment is easy enough to self-install, likewise with Globalstar.
Most of their devices are virtually plug-and-play. You may be required to configure them for the Globalstar satellite network.
But this shouldn’t be difficult for anyone who is computer literate.
Internet Satellites Orbiting Around the Earth
Starlink outdoes Globalstar in terms of internet speed and coverage. Globalstar isn’t technically competing against Starlink.
Globalstar’s Sat-Browse service and dedicated Sat-Fi modem allow users to squeeze more kilobytes of internet browsing speed out of its network through compression.
However, it can’t contend with Starlinks packages even with these enhancements.
Globalstar’s dedicated satellite internet option can only get you transmission (download and upload speeds) rates of up to 72kbps.
This technically isn’t even enough for streaming a basic standard definition video.
However, Globalstar does offer calls and messaging. Truthfully, Globalstar is an alternative for mobile cell phone plans, not broadband internet.
With Starlink, you can reach download speeds as high as 500mbps. Upload speeds can reach as much as 25mbps.
Globalstar’s monthly plans are as follows:
- Orbit 150: $99.99
- Orbit Unlimited: $199.99
They also offer annual service plans. The Galaxy 1800 plan costs $1,200 annually, while the Galaxy Unlimited plan costs 2,400.
Starlink’s monthly subscription plans are as follows:
- Standard (Residential): $120
- Roam: Starting at $150
- Business (Priority): Starting at $250
- Mobile Priority: Starting at $250
- Aviation: $12,000
Starlink also offers what it has dubbed “Starshield.” It’s a more secure Starlink satellite that the company has geared toward military use.
Starlink is notorious for its long waiting lists. It’s not hard to understand why. It’s an on-demand service with limited total bandwidth.
This is something you should consider before signing up.
The above guide compares Starlink vs. Globalstar.
Kindly note that because technology is always changing along with the economy, some of the values and figures in the above text are subject to change.
However, we’ve tried to ensure they were as accurate as possible when writing it.
The biggest hurdle that Starlink has to overcome to attract customers is its price points. Hardware and subscription costs are high.
Although Elon has promised that SpaceX will continue to try to make their prices a little more accessible.
Globalstar isn’t intended for browsing or heavy internet use. However, they provide you with affordable satellite phones and other IoT devices.
Regardless, if you’re looking for a fast internet satellite service, your best bet is Starlink.