- Some Starlink customers have canceled their $US100 ($AU135) deposits after waiting months for the service.
- They said they weren’t able to contact SpaceX customer service to see when they’d get the kits.
- SpaceX said the kits would arrive in mid- or late 2021, but some customers became fed up of waiting.
John Duran paid a $US100 ($AU135) deposit in February to secure Starlink and replace his “horrible service that is as good or worse than having nothing,” he told Insider.
After months of no communication or updates from Starlink, Duran, who is based in Montana, canceled his Starlink preorder in September. He said he would have preferred not to.
“I’m not mad, just disappointed,” Duran said, who is currently using the mobile hotspot from his phone through internet provider Verizon. “I didn’t want to cancel, honestly.”
He’s not the only Starlink customer to become so fed up with waiting for the satellite internet service that it’s led to cancelling the deposit.
SpaceX told customers in a confirmation email that the beta version of the service should be up and running in their area in mid- to late 2021. Musk said the service is expected to come out of its beta-testing phase in October, expanding the network further and allowing more people to use Starlink.
Since paying the refundable deposit, customers have told Insider that they haven’t heard anything from SpaceX and don’t know when they’ll get their hands on the Starlink kit.
In September, Starlink customers told Insider how frustrated they were because they couldn’t find a way to call or email Starlink customer service for updates.
The customers in this article who cancelled their deposits got a full refund from Starlink. They sent Insider email confirmations of their Starlink purchase and cancellation.
SpaceX didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Hans Koenigsmann, former SpaceX vice president and the company’s fourth technical hire, told Insider in an interview on Wednesday: “There are way more user terminals than satellites, and so fundamentally that’s where production needs to ramp up.”
Ilker Temir, who lives on a sailboat around Seattle, also ordered Starlink back in February.
Temir uses Comcast cable for internet connection in the marina but he was looking to replace this with Starlink. He cancelled because he couldn’t get hold of Starlink for updates and questions about his unique living situation.
SpaceX in March filed a request to the Federal Communications Commission to connect Starlink to moving vehicles, including ships, planes, and trucks. Elon Musk tweeted in April that Starlink is set to be mobile later this year.
Temir said that all he received was “a meaningless statement on their app saying that service in my area will be available in late 2021.”
SpaceX has previously said that the global chip shortage was delaying the production of the Starlink user terminals – the dishes that connect to the 1,639 satellites in orbit.
“It’s a global scramble for chips,” James Yenbamroong, CEO and founder of mu Space, a satellite internet service provider, told Insider. “We’re seeing the shortages of chips for Starlink because the chips in their user terminals use the same production line as the electronics and automotive chips.”
Ben Mills, who lives in Idaho, told Insider he paid $US100 ($AU135) to secure a Starlink deposit in April but, like Temir and Duran, heard nothing from the company.
“I started to feel like I gave my money to a scammer and that it was a fake Starlink website,” he said.
Mills has since signed up to Hughes Net, even though he was trying to avoid them.
Many other Starlink customers got in touch with Insider to say that they’re still waiting for the service after paying a deposit earlier this year. Some said they’re planning to cancel their Starlink pre-order if they don’t hear from SpaceX soon.
Starlink’s website still says that the service is available to a “limited number of users” in certain areas where it’s live, and that “orders will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.”
Are you a Starlink user who has cancelled their deposit or subscription? Get in touch with this reporter via [email protected] or DM via Twitter.