Despite the price tag placed on Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite, many Nigerians may be willing to subscribe considering the service it is positioned to offer.
Nigerians will pay $600 to acquire the setup hardware and a monthly subscription of $43 which didn’t sit well in the sight of many.
Many internet service providers have reportedly tightened their belts in preparation for competition with the satellite owned by the former richest man in the world
According to Chris Hall, former UK commercial officer, Starlink will play an important role in connecting schools and hospitals in remote areas across Nigeria and other African countries.
In the area of wider coverage, Starlink promised to provide fast internet connections to rural and underserved areas. This has remained a milestone yet to be achieved by telecom providers in Nigeria, who don’t have all it takes to reach the rural and underserved areas.
“Definitely, it will help those in the rural area where the likes of MTN and other Telcos networks don’t have a good presence. Satellites can cover those areas telcos cannot penetrate. With these Elon Musk satellites, rural areas will have the opportunity of using internet connections. And it is going to drive broadband in a way whereby underserved areas can now have full access to internet connections,” said Ajibola Olude, secretary, of the Association of telecom companies of Nigeria (ATCON).
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According to Ookla, the average mobile internet speed via cellular is 17.38Mbps, while fixed internet wireless connection is 10.06Mbps. However, Starlink will provide a speed of 104Mbps which is multiple times faster.
Bello Gbadebo, a Nigerian on social media who placed an order for a Starlink router, said he was satisfied with the network speed and latency despite spending up to N400, 000 to preorder and fix the satellite.
“Just got a chance to test my Starlink, I haven’t tested extensively but I’m pretty impressed so far. Got about 20Mbps on the initial test and it went up to about 240Mbps afterward. The latency is pretty decent as well,” he tweeted.
According to him, he tested the satellite from Abeokuta, Ogun State where he has struggled greatly with sub-par Internet.
He said, “Even hubs here don’t have the internet bit figured out yet, so it’s really a big deal to me that I’m able to get above 200Mbps. I get this speed despite not putting the dish in a very elevated space and having over 30 percent obstruction which my Starlink considers really bad. I’m wondering if it’ll get any better if placed on the roof.”
Nonetheless, the ATCON secretary disclosed that Starlink will be positioned to serve both public, and corporate organisations, and the retail market, a feature that makes it totally different from already existing satellites in Nigeria. He noted that the previous satellite in Nigeria concentrated on selling capacity to its members.
Also, the satellite which has been approved by the Nigerian government will have the necessary backup needed to generate more tax revenue, increase investment and attract investors in the telecommunication sector and achieve the 2025 broadband plan which will have some good effect on the economy.
However, Musk Starlink which will provide stable connections across all locations subscribed will help in the federal government’s pursuit to achieve 70 percent broadband penetration in 2025 as contained in the Nigerian National Broadband Plan.
Data released by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) showed that In November 2022, Nigerian broadband penetration stood at 46 percent, and still looking to meet up with the plan in 2025.
Starlinks presence in Nigeria according to experts will help in the struggle to make the plan a reality in 2025 if other efforts are put in place by the government.
A source from the Nigerian telecom sector said,“ Though it is quite expensive, it will help in the plans to achieve the broadband plan of 2025. If all efforts are put in place in areas like infrastructure, cost reduction, and others, then Starlink will be a boost towards achieving the process.”