Starlink cuts price of start-up kit for Nigerians to $99

Starlink cuts price of start-up kit for Nigerians to $99

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Nigerian customers of SpaceX’s Starlink service will pay only US$99 for their starter kit, only a sixth of the $599 that US customers have to pay.

The Ecofin news agency in Africa says that Starlink will start services to Nigeria in August, but does not yet give a monthly subscription rate. Americans pay $110 a month for Starlink, which is delivered by the company’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

Starlink’s service map quotes Q3 of 2022 for start of service in Nigeria, well ahead of other countries in Africa, including neighbouring Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana, Mali and Niger, all of which indicate 2023 – without identifying a quarter – as the start date.

The early start in Nigeria follows an agreement with the regulator revealed in late May.

According to the news agency, Starlink started prospecting the Nigerian telecoms market in May 2021, in the framework of its African expansion plan, amid growing demand for high-speed connectivity. It also targeted South Africa and Zimbabwe, both also labelled as 2023 for start of service, among other markets.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has awarded licences to Starlink, including a 10-year international gateway licence and a five-year internet service provider (ISP).

Starlink’s satellite fleet passed 2,500 in May this year. The company aims to launch 4,400 in its current generation, orbiting at heights from 335km to 550km, but eventually plans as many as 42,000.

The government of Nigeria hopes that Starlink will contribute to its goal of covering 90% of the country with broadband by 2025 as part of its digital transformation plan.

A report from Ookla last year said US customers were getting a median download speed of 97.23Mbps and a median upload speed of 13.89Mbps.

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