SpaceX, a US based private space exploration company founded by Elon Musk, is seeking necessary licenses to bring Starlink, its internet service to Nigeria.
Ryan Goodnight, SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa disclosed this after a meeting held with the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) Executive Vice-Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, last week in the Federal Capital Territory.
Nigeria is labeled as a critical market in Africa therefore before the face-to-face meeting took place last week, SpaceX had been discussing with the NCC virtually over the past several months on the issue says Goodnight.
SpaceX was founded In 2002 by Elon Musk who is also CEO of Tesla Motors to enhance space technology and reduce space transportation costs. However, In 2020, the company expanded its efforts more to provide satellite internet service which they labeled the program as Starlink. As of March 2021, Starlink had more than 1,100 satellites in space.
Starlink is a low latency broadband internet system generated to meet the needs of consumers in rural areas with low internet penetration across the globe. If it eventually launches in Nigeria it is going to deliver super-fast internet via satellites to rural areas in the country.
In theory, Starlink is capable of delivering upto 150Mbps internet speeds to any place on the planet with a clear sky view.
Cost and Competitors
Starlink is currently only available in beta, showing that not everyone can opt-in for the service as at now. Its beta service comes with a price tag of $99 (~₦40,000) per month.
The system also has a $499 (~₦200,000) upfront cost to supersede the connection kit, which includes all its necessary hardware that range from a small satellite dish, a router, power supply, and mounting tripod.
Nevertheless, these rates are just for beta customers meaning its likely to change when the service roles out to the masses. According to the SpaceX, Its current active users of its Starlink is over 10,000 customers with over a growing order of 500,000. The company plans to expand into many service areas coming months.
Compared to existing similar internet service plans currently in Nigeria which cost an average of $50, Starlink seems to be a more expensive option, unless it launches with a slightly different proposition for the Nigerian Market.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Federal authority plans to bring in 90% of the country’s population online by 2025, no doubt it’ll be open to multiple avenues to bring this to reality. We will be bring more notice and new on this as it unfolds.