Starlink was set up by SpaceX to provide high speed internet service.
Nigerians will have to pay $600 to be able to use Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service in the country.
Daily Trust reports that Starlink, broadband from Musk with the aim to sell internet connections to every part of the world through private satellites orbiting in low earth, would need Nigerians to pay a black-market price of N438,000, N730 to $1, or the official rate of N269,130, N448 to $, to acquire the setup hardware
The company said Nigerians can pre-order the $600 hardware as it prepares to launch this year but stated that its rollout is now “pending regulatory approval.”
Recall that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had last year noted that some administrative issues were delaying Starlink’s scheduled launch.
He had said, “They have now commenced the deployment of their facilities in Nigeria. Nigeria is the first African country to reach that partnership and also approval for the deployment.
“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,” he added.
But some Nigerians have expressed concerns that the cost of acquiring Starlink’s hardware is too high. They are also disturbed that Nigerians can only pay for the hardware and subscription in dollars, while most Nigerian banks have suspended dollar transactions on naira cards.
American billionaire, Elon Musk, still has his sight on Nigeria, as his internet company, Starlink, will debut in the country next year, a statement from the network provider shows.
Recall representatives of Starlink, which is a subsidiary of SpaceX, had visit Nigeria in May this year, to hold discussions with members of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The meeting reportedly centred around the operation plan and license of Starlink in the telecoms market in Nigeria, as Musk’s company aims to provide internet service to five percent of the world’s population, which includes Africa’s largest economy.
Findings by Ripples Nigeria disclosed that Starlink has a timeframe of late 2022 to start operation, but the company said its deployment is subject to regulatory approval.
“Starlink expects to expand service in your area by late 2022. Availability is subject to regulatory approval. Within each coverage area, orders are fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.” the company statement reads.
The company has launched 1,500 satellite, spending between $5 billion and $10 billion to support its 5 percent global coverage plan, but the service is still expected to cost $20 billion or $30 billion according to estimate.
It was gathered that there are 69,000 active Starlink users, but subscriber base is projected to hit half a million by next year, according to the American billionaire.
Starlink will be debuting in a market where MTN, Glo, Airtel and 9mobile compete for subscribers struggling to balance high cost of living and falling purchasing power induced by double-digit inflation, unemployment rise and underpaid jobs.
As of August 2020, Nigeria ranked 81st out of 85 countries surveyed for most affordable internet service in the world, with South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, and Tunisia sitting ahead of the country.
Cost of internet has been criticised by Nigerian subscribers who complain of high depletion rate, which the telcos tie to quality of service – their inability to balance affordability and low depletion has created a loophole for incoming rivals like Starlink to exploit for growth.