Speaking the Nations Mind

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Plans To Launch In Nigeria By Late 2021

Starlink, a satellite internet service designed by Elon Musk's SpaceX, has announced plans to launch in Nigeria by late 2021 and expand to other African countries in 2022

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Starlink, a satellite internet service designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, has announced plans to launch in Nigeria by late 2021 and expand to other African countries in 2022. The company launched its 21st cluster of 60 communication satellites on Thursday. In this report, we explore what this means for Africa’s internet issues and broader implications for local internet service providers and telcos.

Starlink is a satellite internet service designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, powered by a constellation of thousands of small satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) working in combination with ground transceivers. Starlink was first announced in 2015 but it did not make its debut until 2020. At the moment, Starlink is in its Beta testing stage and is available in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and New Zealand.

SpaceX plans to launch over 40,000 Starlink satellites over time, but currently only about 1,300 satellites have been launched (the company’s 21st 60-satellite launch took place on Thursday 10 March). The reviews from current users of Starlink have been stellar – some of the unique service offerings (or the advantages of using Starlink) include low latency (20ms to 40ms), truly unlimited data (no data cap) and high-speed internet (currently c150mbps, to reach 300mbps later).

In February, Elon Musk disclosed that Starlink now has over 10,000 customers and plans to expand to more customers, prioritising areas without access to high-speed network. Starlink has also announced plans to launch in Africa by late 2021, starting with Nigeria and expanding to other African countries in 2022.

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