Starlink, an invention of the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, is expected to kick off operations in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria and other countries on the continent as the company looks to spread its operations beyond America and Europe. Speculatively, the company is to begin operations in Nigeria by the second half of the year.

Quick catch-up 

  • Starlink, an American satellite internet service provider, is looking to compete with the major telcos operating in Nigeria, including MTN Nigeria, Airtel Africa, Globacom and 9mobile. The company has in the past held several meetings with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to obtain an operating license in the country. 
  • Ryan Goodnight, SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa, earlier in May 2022, held a meeting with NCC’s Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC), Umar Danbatta, to discuss operations. 

What they are saying 
In a tweet on Tuesday, Elon Musk wrote Starlink would be available in any country of the world in which they license them to operate. He added that “starlink expects to expand service in your area by mid-2022. Availability is subject to regulatory approval. Within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.”

By the numbers 

  • At the time NCC granted Starlink operating license, the company had launched 893 satellites. And according to the agreement with NCC, the company had received a Landing Permit for all its complete constellation of 4,408 satellites. The Landing Permit will come under review once all 4,408 satellites are launched.
  • The Starlink preorder service is on sale for a fee of $99 or N41,102.82. The full Starlink kit of a mounting tripod, Wi-Fi router, and a terminal cost $499 or N207,174.82. 

State of play 
Starlink’s technology would boost the 70% broadband penetration the federal government is working to achieve through the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025), but its cost of $99 or N41,102.82 seems prohibitive as it is beyond Nigeria’s minimum wage of N30,000. 

What you should know 

  • The world bank in a report showed that for every 10% rise in broadband penetration in a country, there is no less than a 4.6% growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Q1 2022 rose by 3.11% year-on-year, showing a sixth consecutive quarter of growth in the country’s economy.
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