Starlink has introduced a new user terminal customers can get with their starter kit. As first reported by The Verge, the company now offers a rectangular option (PDF) that's smaller and lighter than its original circular one. Users have to install that antenna on their rooftop or anywhere high up with a clear view of the sky to be able to access its satellite internet.
The original version is a standard dish that's 23-inch wide, but the rectangular version is only 12 inches wide and 19 inches long. It's also only 9.2 pounds, which is almost half the weight of its circular counterpart. The new terminal's smaller form factor could give users more options when it comes to potential locations where they can install it. In addition, the rectangular terminal comes with more accessory options, including a long pole users can simply stick in the ground so they no longer have to mount the antenna on their rooftop.
SpaceX launched Starlink as a beta service in late 2020 and offered customers access to its satellite internet for $99 a month. Users would have to pay $499 on top of that for its hardware kit, though, which includes the antenna, its stand, power supply and a WiFi router. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in August that the original dish cost $3,000 to produce, and while the company was able to get that down to $1,300, it was still selling the kit at a loss.
Shotwell also said at the time that the terminal it's releasing this year "will cost roughly half" of what its current user terminals cost and that the company may be able to cut that in half again. The Verge notes, however, that the hardware kit is still being sold for $499 even with the rectangular antenna, and SpaceX has yet to reveal whether it will be sold at a lower price in the future. Potential new customers who don't mind paying the same price for it can get the rectangular terminal when they order a kit, so long as they're in the US.