The price of a Starlink satellite terminal has almost doubled in Ukraine, according to a report from the Financial Times, following increased demand for the SpaceX satellite devices and targeted Russian attacks on the country’s electrical grid that have caused communications networks to fail.
Starlink terminals in Ukraine are set to increase from the equivalent of $385 to about $700. The monthly subscription required to use the service will also climb from $60 to $75 on December 29th according to emails sent to Ukrainian Starlink customers, though this is still cheaper than its original $100 rate, which was dropped back in August to “reflect local market conditions.” For the sake of comparison, a Starlink dish costs $599 in the US, alongside a $110 monthly subscription.
These price increases affect individual users, so it’s unclear whether the Ukrainian government, which has obtained Starlink from various donors such as SpaceX and NATO, will also be impacted. The Financial Times also indicates that prices have increased for individual users in neighboring Poland, but remain otherwise unchanged throughout most of Europe.
Support for the satellite-based service was enabled in Ukraine following a direct request to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk just days after Russia invaded the country earlier this year on February 24th. The Ukrainian military has since used donated Starlink units to maintain communications in areas where mobile networks are unavailable.
Ukraine is currently attempting to restore services affected by targeted Russian bomb raids attempting to cripple the country’s energy grid, which have impacted local mobile and communications networks. As Starlink utilizes direct satellite connections to deliver a signal, it isn’t impacted by the attacks, leaving many civilians in areas reclaimed from Russian forces reliant on the service to maintain critical communications. This in turn has increased the demand for Starlink throughout the country in recent weeks.
The price increase could be how SpaceX plans to recoup previous losses reportedly incurred by funding Starlink terminals sent to Ukraine. The company asked the Pentagon to pay for additional Starlink terminals for Ukraine back in September, as well as pay for ongoing costs after Musk claimed SpaceX was losing about $20 million a month to maintain the service. Musk later walked back this request, promising to continue funding satellite internet service in Ukraine even if it means the company loses money.