We've been tracking the rollout of the fifth generation service from satellite internet provider HughesNet for a long time now.
HughesNet "Gen5" is set to offer peak speeds of 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up, a substantial improvement over older satellite internet services that will make HughesNet a lot more competitive with LTE cellular technology.
And unlike HughesNet's fourth generation service, Gen5 is slated to be available nationwide - potentially revitalizing satellite internet options for mobile customers.
Last month we were able to reveal most of the details of the new Gen5 service plans, including the official service rollout date coming on April 1st. But the specific pricing details for mobile customers remained unknown.
But earlier this week, RV-focused HughesNet reseller MobileInternetSatellite.com was at last able to finalize the key details.
The good news - it WILL be possible to take this service on the road, with nationwide coverage.
The bad news - enabling mobility will be expensive, and an oversized 4' dish will be mandatory.
We've got all the details.
Mobile Gen5: Plan Prices & Requirements
As expected - basic residential consumer plans will NOT support mobile installations.
If you take a residential plan physically outside of the satellite spot it is assigned to, it will simply fail to connect.
But MobileInternetSatellite.com has confirmed that they will be able to set up RVers with a portable tripod system and a business account that has mobility enabled, allowing the dish to be moved as often as you want and it will automatically change to a different spot beam as needed.
But this capability will cost you:
The plans are substantially more expensive than residential plans, and do not include the 50GB overnight "Bonus Zone" data.
But the literal bigger catch is that HughesNet is requiring these mobile-enabled plans use a physically larger dish, which may be a tough item to transport for storage-constrained RVers.
MobileInternetSatellite.com explained the tradeoffs in their news update:
You must have a Business Internet account on a Business Internet system, which includes a .98 m dish. The .98 m dish is about 4 foot across instead of 3 foot, but it provides a much stronger signal, making you virtually immune to rain fade. It will also allow you to extend the coverage further north into Canada and south into Mexico.
They went on to further explain the upfront costs and requirements:
- Purchase a Business Internet System – The likely cost of the system will be $675, but this has not been finalized.
- Agree to a 2-year contract OR pay an activation fee – The no-contract option includes an activation fee of at least $400, but the actual amount has not yet been finalized.
- Business Internet has a suspension charge, when the account is inactive. The amount of this charge is not yet determined, but is expected to be between $15 and $20 per month. Suspension can be up to 5 months in a year.
The mobile packages should be available starting in April.
If this interests you, contact MobileInternetSatellite.com to be notified when they are ready to start taking orders.
Snowbirds: Cheap Residential Pricing, Launch Promo
If you only need to relocate service three times or less each year, things are a lot easer.
Mobile Internet Satellite can sell you a regular-sized HughesNet Gen5 tripod system with residential service pricing - without the mobile up-charge.
The residential plans all include 50GB of "Bonus Zone" data that can be used between 2AM and 8AM, allowing you to schedule bulk downloads overnight.
And as a launch promo, HughesNet's "Next Plan Up" offer will upgrade your service tier for the next year, bringing the cost of the 50GB/mo plan down to $99. If you factor in the Bonus Zone data, that adds up to 100GB of satellite internet data for less than $100/mo.
But the catch is substantial - you can only "move" at most three times per calendar year. And every time you move, you need to call MobileInternetSatellite to have them manually reprovision your service address before the dish will be able to connect.
This limitation means that residential pricing will remain impractical for most RVers, but for those snowbirds who alternate between a summer and winter home base this is a great way to bring satellite internet service with you.
- HughesNet “Gen5” Satellite Internet Service – Coming April 1st!
- Satellite Internet Options for RVers - Recently updated featured guide on all the current and future satellite internet options of interest to RVers.
- HughesNet Gen3 / Gen4 / Gen5 Spot Beam Service - Review Center page.
- HughesNet “Classic” Legacy Service - Review Center page.