Starlink Is Now Available In Nigeria, But Only For People Earning In Dollars.
Nigerians who pre-ordered the company’s gear are already receiving their orders and taking advantage of high-speed internet via satellite as the much-anticipated operation of Space X’s Starlink in that country has begun.
It has been confirmed, though, that the service is only accessible to individuals who have dollar cards to use for online hardware purchases.This implies that unless the company creates a physical presence in the nation and begins accepting naira as payment, many Nigerians who want the service won’t be able to buy its hardware, let alone subscribe.
According to data provided by Starlink, the service’s subscriptions cost $43 a month in addition to the hardware, which is $600.Although using virtual currency cards to purchase Starlink would have been simpler for many Nigerians, the service’s suspension by companies like Flutterwave and Eversend has made it more challenging.
Even though the daily maximum for overseas transactions was $20 before the stoppage, several Nigerian banks have also stopped accepting them on naira ATM cards.Due to these events, only Nigerians with dollar cards are currently able to order Starlink hardware.
Bello Gbadebo, who is situated in Abeokuta and pre-ordered Starlink hardware in October of last year and received it in December, claims that he initially experienced roughly 20Mbps and then had speeds of up to 240Mbps.
He tweeted about his experience and said:
“I’m conducting this test from Abeokuta, Ogun State, where I’ve had a lot of trouble with slow internet. It’s a significant issue to me that I can get above 200Mbps because even hubs here don’t have the internet part down yet. Despite not placing the dish in a particularly elevated location and having over 30% obstruction, which my Starlink considers problematic, I still receive this speed. I’m unsure if being placed on the roof will make things any better.
As ordering hardware using a naira card is not possible, Gbadebo stated that he was able to do it with a dollar card.
Starlink is anticipated to face competition from companies like MTN, Airtel, Globacom, 9mobile, and hundreds more ISPs in Nigeria offering services via various technologies, such as fiber and satellite.
However, it is uncertain if Starlink would be able to compete with the incumbents who now provide much lower setup costs given that its hardware cost is currently fixed at $600 (about N438,000 at the parallel market pricing). The rivalry for Starlink will be fierce in terms of speed with the introduction of 5G by MTN and the awarding of 5G licenses to Mafab Communications and Airtel, who are anticipated to launch the service at any moment.
With a $43 subscription fee (about N31,000), Starlink is still within the price range of other Nigerian ISPs.The availability of Starlink in rural and underserved areas of Nigeria, where the services of the current carriers are either subpar or nonexistent, will be its greatest competitive advantage.
But the cost is also a consideration. It is not yet known if Starlink will eventually reduce its expenses to increase its marketability.