Last Friday, May 27th 2022, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) approved the operation of Starlink, an American satellite internet service provider in the country. 

NCC’s confirmation 
The Nigerian regulator, in its confirmatory notice, stated that Starlink “received two licenses, which include the International Gateway license and Internet Service Provider (ISP) license, and will be trading as Starlink Internet Services Nigeria Ltd.”

  • For the period of the agreement, the commission granted the International Gateway license a 10-year tenure while the ISP license was to last for five years from May 2022, with the option to renew it after the licenses expire. 
  • SpaceX owner and the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, also tweeted the news. 

State of play 
Starlink’s entry into the telecommunication sector of Africa’s largest economy is not promised to be a smooth one as telcos giants including MTN, Globacom, Airtel, 9mobile have been competing in that space for a long time. 

  • In fact, earlier in the month, newer telecommunication operators in Nigeria sought the federal government’s intervention as they lamented over the dominance of these giant telcos. 
  • Due to their wide reach, popularity and cost of service, these newer telcos operators have not been able to establish a strong customer base outside the country’s top cities, Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
  • The Starlink preorder service is on sale for a fee of $99 or N41,102.82, an amount beyond Nigeria’s minimum wage of N30,000. The full Starlink kit of a mounting tripod, Wi-Fi router, and a terminal cost $499 or N207,174.82. Starlink could have a price dilemma to address to compete against the already existing telcos in Nigeria. 

What Starlink is bringing 
Starlink, a company that provides internet service to 32 countries in licensed countries, prides itself on high-speed, low-latency broadband internet across the globe. 

  • The company received two licenses from the NCC, an International Gateway license and an ISP license.
  • Starlink’s satellite use ensures that every subscriber has access to excellent network reception from any part of the country. 
  • Starlink’s Internet theoretical promises 150Mbps in speed, a feat currently unchallenged by the mobile operators in the country. 

What you should know 
Starlink is the name of the satellite designed by the space company SpaceX. 

  • Starlink’s first license, International Gateway license, grants the company international access to its users in Nigeria. 
  • The company can therefore provide services including mobile radio services, VSAT Services, internet node, and forms of backbone services.
  • Starlink’s competitors in this category include Globacom, Prest Cable & Satellite TV Systems Ltd, IMBIL Telecom Solutions Nig Ltd, etc.
  • For the second license, ISP, Starlink major competitors include Spectranet, FibreOne, Tizeti, iPNX, etc. 
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