Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has announced that Elon Musk’s satellite company, SpaceX, will roll out Starlink Internet Service in the remaining days of this year. This is coming seven months after the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) issued Starlink, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) licence. 

Driving the news 
In Prof. Isa Pantami’s declaration at the just concluded US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, the Nigerian Minister described the delay in the rollout of Starlink since May 2022 as a result of a “few administrative processes.” 

  • Pantami further added that as a result of the partnership with SpaceX, Elon Musk’s satellite company would “provide broadband access across the whole of Nigeria, enabling nationwide access to broadband connectivity way ahead of the December 2025 schedule outlined in our National Broadband Plan.” 

State of play 
Starlink’s entry into the telecommunication sector of Africa’s largest economy is not promised to be an easy ride as telcos giants, including MTN, Globacom, Airtel, 9mobile, have been competing in that space for a long time. MTN Nigeria even recently launched a fifth generation network in the country. 

  • Due to their wide reach, popularity and cost of service, these newer telecom operators have not been able to establish a strong customer base outside the country’s top cities, Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

The big picture 
One of the biggest challenges in Nigeria’s telecommunications sector is the high cost of access to internet services. Should Starlink provide quality for subscribers at affordable rates, they might just beat the existing telecom providers in the country. 

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.

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