The internet has been buzzing since Elon Musk, in typical Elon style, announced via Twitter that Starlink, the Internet Service Provider under his company SpaceX is coming to Nigeria. Starlink provides internet access through low earth orbital (LEO) satelites, and its services are currently available in 32 countries.
This year, Starlink has launched more than 2,000 satellites, and 1,500 are in operational orbit as of January this year. These satelites make it easier for rural areas and places unable to be serviced by regular service providers to have internet access.
In Nigeria, 49% (104.9 million) of the population do not use the internet because of limited internet service infrastructure (like cell phone towers), according to the "Digital 2022 Nigeria" report by Data Reportal.
Nigerians typically access the internet through data bundles offered by companies such as 9mobile, Airtel Nigeria, Spectranet and MTNN. However, users of these services frequently complain of slow internet speeds and constant unexplained downtimes.
Starlink is renowned for its impressive internet speed of 104Mbps, a sharp contrast to the average cellular internet speed of 17.38Mbps. Furthermore, the use of the LEO satelites is likely to significantly reduce internet downtimes and the unavailability of network signals in obscure areas.
Why is this good for Nigeria?
Faster internet in Nigeria will encourage more technological innovations and opportunities to come to the country.
Sectors such as agriculture, banking, education, healthcare and transportation would greatly benefit. For instance, banking systems would have faster connectivity to head-office databases, reduced time spent resolving customer queries, and improved financial services.
Online classes would become more effective and reach more students, particularly those in underserviced areas.
Healthcare would benefit from telemedicine. Regardless of location, doctors would be able to consult with patients effortlessly.
For individuals, particularly remote workers, faster internet would take away the challenge of projects and deliverables being held up by unreliable network service providers, thus leading to improved productivity.
How much does Starlink cost in Nigeria?
A Starlink device can be set up and ready for use in less than 30 minutes, but how much does it cost? The Starlink price in Nigeria is broken down into a one-time equipment fee of approximately $599 (~₦330,000), $60 (N25,000) for shipping, and a monthly subscription of $99 (N41,000). The premium service costs nearly $2,500 (~₦1.375 million) for the complete kit and $500 (~₦275,000) monthly. The complete Starlink kit contains the wifi router, terminal and mounting tripod and can be set up without professional help.
While it is significantly pricier than a regular internet service set up in Nigeria, it's worth it because the internet is unlimited and exceptionally fast.
How to get Starlink in Nigeria?
You can pre-order the Starlink connection by paying a $99 deposit on Starlink's website. With the current restrictive limit on Nigerian cards, paying for the service may be challenging. Obiex offers virtual cards that can be used to pay for Starlink without hassle. Download the App and Signup, fund your account, place your order, and wait for your super-fast internet connection to arrive. Obiex charges a one time card creation fee of $2, and its free spending with the card afterwards.
Click here to watch this short Youtube video on how to create an Obiex Virtual dollar card.