Amazon has unveiled its trio of satellite internet receivers that will be part of its “Project Kuiper” internet service, competing with SpaceX Starlink.
Besides SpaceX’s incredible success at creating a rocket that can take off and land multiple times, one of its most incredible creations is its Starlink satellite internet service, which today reaches every continent on the planet. Now, Amazon hopes to compete in the same market, launching its satellite internet service, “Project Kuiper.”
America’s largest online retailer first announced Project Kuiper in 2018 but has since been tight-lipped about details. Now, Amazon has revealed a trio of satellite internet receiver offerings that hope to undercut Starlink’s price tag.
Amazon’s smallest, most affordable offering is a portable satellite receiver, selling for only $100 and offering speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps). Stepping up in price and speed, Amazon will also offer a residential service option, selling for $400 and providing 400Mbps of speed. Finally, for commercial and government use cases, Amazon will offer its largest receiver, capable of 1 gigabit per second, though the price of this product has not been disclosed.
While Amazon has outlined that affordability is a primary design goal for Project Kuiper, it has not announced the pricing for the internet service.
Each Project Kuiper receiver will use Amazon’s low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellite network. These satellites have not yet reached production, but the first two prototypes will be launched later this year on a Vulcan Centaur rocket from United Launch Alliance.
Amazon is aiming to achieve mass production of its satellites later this year and will begin launching sometime in 2024. Customers can expect to start using Project Kuiper by the end of 2024.
The obvious comparison is to the Starlink products already out on the market, and the two competitors have much in common. They are based on the same LEO satellite technology and have similar offerings, from portable, like the Starlink Roam, to commercial. However, it should be noted that the SpaceX offerings are currently substantially more expensive, starting at $600 for the stationary edition of the Starlink Roam and Residential offerings.
Starlink currently costs $120 per month, though that price can increase substantially for higher-speed offerings.
As for the speed, Amazon has high hopes for its system, as it could be substantially faster than Starlink’s current offerings. SpaceX states that customers can expect 300Mbps anywhere worldwide, while business customers can achieve 350Mbps. However, Starlink is in the process of upgrading its network, and upcoming speeds are still unknown.
Amazon estimates it will need roughly 3,236 satellites to form its complete “constellation,” though the company did not specify how much area that would cover. Nonetheless, Amazon faces quite a challenge, especially if it hopes to compete with the coverage of Starlink.