Several people have complained that satellite internet unlimited is not offering what they expect.
As the name implies, you would expect to use data to do anything without restrictions once you purchase the unlimited plan. Is that the case?
At Starlink Zone, we help our readers become informed buyers. That said, we are going to reveal a lot of confusion concerning satellite unlimited.
We’ll also help you decide between it and cellular internet.
Table of Contents
- What is an Unlimited Data Plan?
- Does Unlimited Data Mean Unlimited Hotspot?
- Cellular and Satellite Compared
- So, Which One Should I Choose?
What is an Unlimited Data Plan?
An unlimited data plan indicates the amount of monthly data you can use!
HughesNet and Viasat offer “unlimited data” plans that, according to them, allow you to use as much data as you want.
However, it still comes with a threshold or data cap. You will not get completely disconnected when you exceed the limit, but your internet gets throttled.
That said, you can still receive emails and carry out some basic internet activities.
So, is there anything like “truly unlimited” in satellite data? Yes, Starlink offers unlimited data with no data cap.
If you are in a location where you can access this service, the better.
It is affordable, has lower latency, and has a higher speed than HughesNet and Viasat.
However, it is still in its early stages of development and not available in most parts of the world.
The satellite dish was placed in position.
Does Unlimited Data Mean Unlimited Hotspot?
An unlimited data plan doesn’t mean your mobile hotspot is as much as you want.
Even if the cell phone refers to it as unlimited, there must be a data cap. For instance, you will meet offers like 22GB monthly unlimited data bundles.
Though it may be enough to take you throughout the month, having a data cap lingering in your mind makes you feel like you cannot perform all internet activities.
Whether your mobile hotspot uses free-Sim connection or requires a Sim card to operate, there must be a service agreement that is subject to arbitrary restrictions like:
- No tethering while using unlimited data
- Hard data cap beyond which your line gets throttled
- The type of equipment you can use while on unlimited data
- Average fees for unlimited data
A laptop using cellular data
Cellular and Satellite Compared
Here is how these two technologies compare:
Telecommunication tower with 5G
The latency experienced on satellite and cellular systems can greatly vary depending on distance, congestion, and technology.
However, expect a latency of 35-70ms on cellular systems and 600-1200ms on satellite systems.
As you can see, cellular systems tend to have lower latency than satellite networks.
The higher latency in satellite networks is mainly a result of the distance the signal has to cover between the satellite and the Earth.
However, we have to appreciate the fact that a lot of improvements have taken place of late.
You now have low-orbit satellites offering lower latency than geostationary satellites due to their closeness to the Earth.
This could be the only area satellite network outshine the cellular network.
Satellite network coverage is much wider; you can access it virtually everywhere you can view the sky.
Cellular internet coverage is also wide, with only 2% of the US population unable to access it.
If you are among the 2%, portable satellite internet is still a great option for your internet needs.
For the 98% that can access it, get a great internet speed wherever you are.
Cellular network speed is higher than satellite network speed in most cases.
However, the speeds greatly vary depending on signal strength, technology, and network congestion.
On average, the speed can range from 20-100mbs depending on the location and network provider.
The latest cellular network, 5G, can offer up to 1 Gbps speed in ideal conditions.
On the other hand, satellite networks have higher latency, so you should expect a slower page load.
On average, the speeds range between 12-100 Mbps depending on the satellite provider and plan.
However, Starlink is an exceptional satellite provider with a Business Plan that can offer up to 500 Mbps in a deal condition.
This is much better than what you will get from most cellular network technologies, such as 3G and 4G.
Satellite Internet Unlimited: Cost
The cost of a satellite can be significantly higher, ranging between $50 to $150 per month, depending on the plan and location.
The equipment and the infrastructure needed to advance coverage to rural areas may be the main reason behind the high cost.
On the other hand, you should expect to pay between $20 -$100 per month for cellular data depending on the data limit and the devices used, among other factors.
Furthermore, Cellular network providers usually offer discounts for multiple lines or family offers that may help reduce the cost.
Satellite Internet Unlimited: Reliability
Network congestion tends to be more of a concern in cellular than satellite networks.
Network congestion can interrupt the service by slowing down the internet speed.
However, cellular networks are not prone to weather interference like in the case of satellite networks.
One of the most complaints from satellite users is the weather, especially wind, messing up with data service.
Satellite dishes must be well stationed out in space to access the network, exposing it to wind, snow, rain, and other atmospheric conditions.
You cannot say this about cellular data, which works fine in extreme weather conditions.
So, Which One Should I Choose?
Cellular internet networks win in many instances except for the coverage.
However, choosing between the two will depend on location, internet requirements and budget.
If you are looking for the best option in remote areas, satellite networks are a great option.