FG approves Elon Musk’s Starlink in Nigeria

By Ben Oreva

World’s richest man, Elon Musk, at the weekend, announced on Twitter that Nigeria and Mozambique have approved Starlink, the satellite Internet service launched by SpaceX, his space exploration company.

This is coming three days after Musk responded to a tweet on the service launch in Africa.

“Yes, the first countries in Africa will be announced soon. Starlink will serve everywhere on earth where we are legally allowed to serve,” he tweeted.

Starlink operates in over 30 countries where it is legally approved, in essence, where it has required licences to provide Internet services.

Its launch in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, has been in the works since 2021. In May last year, SpaceX sent some representatives to the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), the country’s telecommunications regulator, to discuss the possibility of obtaining a license to operate Starlink in Nigeria.

Reports from the NCC indicated that the telecommunications industry regulator approved the license, which corroborated Musk’s confirmation on Tweeter.

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The publication also said the license for Starlink Internet Services Nigeria Limited, its trading name, was obtained under the Internet Service Provider (ISP) category, while other service providers such as telcos and private operators fall within the category too and will last for a decade starting from May 2022.

Starlink will bring competitiveness to the Nigerian telecommunication operators such as MTN and Airtel, which have had to compete against each other without improving their Internet quality and other services.

However, one argument against Starlink is that its services are expensive at $110 (N60,500) for preorder, while its monthly price at $599 (N330,000) for a full kit, including a terminal, mounting tripod and Wi-Fi router, are costly for the average Nigerian and Mozambique user.

Also, its premium service costs about $2,500, an equivalent of N1.375 million for the full kit and $500 or N275,000 monthly.

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