SpaceX has launched the first “V2 Mini” satellites, which offer four times more capacity per satellite than previous versions today. This comes as Starlink Internet speeds have slowed due to capacity constraints.
To address the capacity constraints, SpaceX has changed its pricing. For example, the monthly service fee for customers in areas with limited capacity has been raised from $110 to $120, while customers in areas with excess capacity will only have to pay $90 per month. Starlink has also introduced a new data cap: Customers who exceed 1 TB in a month will slow down unless they pay extra for additional high-speed data.
The V2 Minis are a scaled-down version of Starlink’s second-generation satellites, which include the larger V2 satellites designed for the SpaceX Starship, which is not yet ready for launch. Despite the name, the V2 Minis are larger and heavier than the first-generation Starlink satellites, which weigh about 650 pounds (295kg) each.
SpaceX plans to launch larger V2 satellites in the future, which will require the use of its Starship spacecraft. Once launched, however, these satellites will offer a significant benefit to consumers – the ability to send signals directly to cell phones. This technology will be deployed as part of a partnership between SpaceX and T-Mobile announced in August 2022. With this capability, T-Mobile will be able to offer its customers better network coverage and faster data speeds, especially in areas with limited existing infrastructure.
SpaceX’s second-generation Starlink satellites are expected to significantly improve broadband performance, but it could take several launches to achieve that goal. The company currently has nearly 3,700 first-generation satellites in orbit, but as more users sign up, speeds decrease.