Are you thinking of installing a new satellite data system? Or considering upgrading from the glacially slow legacy Iridium GO! service? If so, then you may be considering Starlink and/or the new Iridium GO! Exec service.
The Starlink maritime service began in July 2022, with the hardware priced at an eye-watering $10,000 and monthly service starting at $5,000. But in April 2023, prices dropped to $2,500 for the hardware and service starting at $250 per month—a significant reduction.
The Iridium GO! Exec began pre-orders in December 2022, and was officially announced in January, 2023.
|Initial hardware cost||$2,500||$2,199|
|Cheapest plan||$250 / mo||$110 / mo|
|Data cap||50 GB||25 MB|
|Cost per GB||$5||$4,505|
|Download speed||up to 220 Mbps||88 kbps|
|Upload speed||up to 25 Mbps||22 kbps|
|Antenna size||575x511x41 mm||150x95x95 mm|
|Service coverage area||“vast majority”||global|
These are not typos: for the cheapest plans, Starlink offers 2,500x the speed and 2,000x the data for a price only about 2x more per month… net result Iridium GO! Exec is 900x more expensive per GB.
Perhaps you’re thinking this is just due to comparing the cheapest plans, and another plan of Iridium’s offers better value? Well if we look at the similarly-priced “GO! Exec 125” plan ($270 per month), the speeds do not change, but the data cap bumps to 125 MB, or $2,160 per GB. Still 430x more expensive than Starlink.
One possible “con” of Starlink? The high-performance antenna—which is larger than Dishy McFlatface—is relatively large compared to the Iridium’s. But, should that realistically factor into your decision, even on a small boat? I suggest that Iridium GO! Exec’s long list of “cons” far outweighs this consideration.
In conclusion, for small-vessel sailors and cruisers, Iridium GO! Exec is too little, too late. If you’re going for a new install of a satellite data system, or upgrading your existing legacy Iridium GO! installation, Starlink is the clear winner—the Iridium GO! Exec has little going for it.
Do you use Starlink and/or Iridium GO! Exec on your boat? Are you happy with it? How well does it really work in remote areas of the world? Leave a comment and share your experience below!
|Whether you connect via wifi, StarLink, or Iridium GO!, the Weathermuffin app‘s got your back.|
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“Iridium GO!” and “Iridium GO! exec” are trademarks of Iridium Satellite LLC, which has not endorsed, sponsored, or otherwise affiliated with Weathermuffin LLC.