Starlink has disclosed that Nigerians can pre-order the $600 setup hardware as it prepares to launch this year. To subscribe to Starlink’s broadband service in Nigeria will cost $43 (~N32,000) monthly.
Elon Musk’s Starlink, which offers satellite internet connectivity in 32 countries is set to charge Nigerians a whopping $600, about N440,000 at the prevailing parallel exchange rate of N740 – N745 to $1, to acquire the hardware.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy in Nigeria, Prof. Isa Pantami, announced that SpaceX would begin the roll-out of Starlink’s broadband service before the end of 2022. However, the expected roll-out did not happen
Prof. Isa Pantami At the time said:
“As part of the partnership, Space X is to provide broadband access across the whole of Nigeria, enabling nationwide access to broadband connectivity way ahead of the December 2025 schedule, as outlined in our National Broadband Plan.Isa Pantami
Starlink cited “pending regulatory approval” for the delays. With Prof Isa Pantami confirming that some administrative problems were delaying the planned launch of Starlink. The Minister revealed via his Twitter account two days before the end of the previous year that Starlink had begun installing infrastructure in Nigeria. He stated:
“They have now commenced the deployment of their facilities in Nigeria. Nigeria is the first African country to reach that partnership & also approval for the deployment.”
Some More Background on Starlink in Nigeria
In May of 2022, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) granted Starlink two licenses — the International Gateway license (10-year tenure)and the Internet service provider (ISP) license [5-year tenure].
It is also important to know that Starlink is a registered entity in Nigeria; Starlink Internet Services Nigeria Ltd.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Space X, tweeted on May 27 that the company has been given the go-ahead in Nigeria and Mozambique. Starlink also had plans to launch in Kenya.
Starlink would “service everywhere on Earth that we are legally able to serve,” according to Musk
“As part of the partnership, Space X is to provide broadband access across the whole of Nigeria, enabling nationwide access to broadband connectivity way ahead of the December 2025 schedule, as outlined in our National Broadband Plan. With this collaboration with SpaceX’s Starlink, Nigeria is set to be the 1st African country to introduce the service,”
Earlier in December, the Nigerian Minister also disclosed that the Nigerian government had approved Starlink’s application as a High Throughput Satellite (HTS) Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Operator in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector.
Is Starlink Worth it for Nigerians & Other Africans
Starlink can provide faster internet to Africans but at what cost?
The pricing of Starlink will no doubt pose a barrier for Africans in acquiring the service/product.
Only the hardware cost a whopping $600 and a $43 subscription per month (Nigeria).
When you consider that the Starlink premium service cost x3 of the Nigerian plan you wonder if the Government’s grand plan of Starlink providing internet service to Nigerians in rural areas would ever see daylight with the high cost of the service.
Meanwhile some Nigerians are optimistic that Starlink will provide the much needed completion that the telco industry desperately needs and thereby crash the cost of data and network services.
A Twitter user said:
While Starlink is a new alternative to existing internet providers, it will be challenging for most Nigerians to use the service.
A report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that about 133 million people — out of the country’s estimated 200 million population — live in multidimensional poverty.
Yet even though, Nigerians pay a lot for internet service. In 2022 alone, over N3.25 trillion was spent on airtime, data, and other telecommunication services in the country.