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Elon Musk's Starlink goes live in Nigeria

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SpaceX's satellite Internet unit, Starlink, has announced that its services are now active in Nigeria.

The announcement comes seven months after tech mogul Elon Musk's company received an operating license in the West African country.

Nigeria has now become the first country on the continent to use Starlink's satellite Internet and the 46th globally. Moreover, the announcement means that Nigerians will have access to Internet speeds of about 50-200 Mbit/s in most areas.

Costly connectivity

The deployment of Starlink's Internet services in Nigeria means that the company will be competing with local Internet service providers with lower-priced offerings.

To access the services, Nigerians will pay one-time hardware costs of 274,098 Nigerian naira (US$595), with a monthly service fee that allows up to 128 device connections as well as uncapped data at ₦19,260 (US$42).

In terms of speed, the company will be competing with the likes of MTN Nigeria, which rolled out commercial 5G in August 2022, and Mafab Communications, which switched on its 5G services last week. Airtel Nigeria also recently bought 5G spectrum in the country.

According to local media Pulse.NG, the country's government has claimed that with Starlink's services now active, Nigeria has achieved 100% broadband coverage which has surpassed its goal to have 90% broadband coverage by the year 2025.

Cementing its African roots

Musk's Internet company has been setting up shop in several African countries with a Kenya service being announced this month.

In October last year, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) granted Starlink a license to operate. That license followed in the footsteps of Nigeria and Mozambique, which did the same last May.

Want to know more about connectivity in Africa? Check out our dedicated Connectivity content channel here on Connecting Africa.

Following a year of work by the operator to secure approval, the Nigerian Communications Commission licensed Starlink as an Internet service provider (ISP) for ten years.

Starlink provides Internet access to around 46 countries around the globe. It reached 1 million subscribers in December 2022. The company already has a constellation of around 3,000 satellites deployed (expected to reach 4,200 in 2023).

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*Top image source: Image by wayhomestudio on Freepik

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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