After initial plans to charge Nigerians a whopping $600 (N440,000) to acquire its hardware, Elon Musk’s Starlink has slashed hardware and subscription plan costs to N274,098 and N19,260 per month, respectively.
Recall that Technext had earlier reported that the company had fixed $600 and $43 as the cost of its hardware and monthly subscription, amounting to about N438,000 and N31,000 at the parallel market rate.
Also, initially, pre-orders from Nigerians were paid in dollars. However, the company has made known that its prices are now quoted in Naira, which means that Nigerians can make payments using their Naira debit card.
Nigeria was also the first African country to reach the agreement and deploy broadband technology with the SpaceX-owned network. With the latest announcement, Nigeria officially becomes the first African country to witness the launch of Starlink.
Responding to SpaceX’s tweet announcing the development, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said:
“We have made it again. @SpaceX thank you for hosting me in your Headquarters, USA in December 2022 to complete the logistics for the deployment.”Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy
The company said on its website that Nigerians on Starlink will see download speeds of 50-200 Mbps. According to a survey in 2022. Nigeria currently ranks 150th among countries worldwide for internet speed,
The 2022 Speedtest Global Index survey published by US-based internet speed analysis firm, Ookla noted that MTN Nigeria controlled 38.9 per cent of mobile subscribers in Nigeria as of the second quarter of 2022.
Nigeria’s broadband expansion with Starlink arrival
Nigeria’s broadband usage has continued to increase significantly. The penetration rate hit 44.5% as of July 2022. This appears to be a ray of hope for the NCC to reach the national broadband target of 70% by 2025.
According to Industry Statistics released by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), broadband penetration was 40.91% in February 2022, but by July, this had risen to 44.5%, with over 84,950,984 broadband subscriptions.
Last week, the Minister of Communication, Prof. Isa Pantami, stated that Nigeria had achieved 100% broadband coverage with the operation of Starlink, whose satellite service covers the length and breadth of the country.
He asserted that the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025) set a goal for Nigeria to reach 90% broadband coverage by 2025. However, because of the licensing of Starlink, Nigerians may now access high-speed internet from wherever in the nation.
With the recent development, Nigerians’ concern that Starlink’s hardware was costly has been somewhat allayed. Given the significant changes in the exchange rate, many Nigerians felt that making the payment in dollars was a little difficult.
Nigerians now have the chance to make payments in Naira, and those who feel having the hardware is better compared to other network providers in the country may make the switch.
However. the network is still very much on the high side for many Nigerians who will find themselves unable to purchase the hardware going by a recent report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which says about 133 million people — out of the country’s estimated 200 million population — live in multidimensional poverty.
Since Starlink is now competing with companies like MTN, Airtel, Globacom, 9mobile, and hundreds of other Internet service providers in Nigeria offering services via various technologies, such as fibre and satellite, the competition in the market for providing internet services in Nigeria is anticipated to get more fierce as a result of the price cut.
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