Elon Musk’s Starlink might stoke competition for African internet users. Starlink’s expansion into the African telecom market reflects the continent’s improving infrastructure and declining data rates.
Elon Musk’s introduction of Starlink has stoked competition for underserved clients in Africa’s already crowded internet market.
Late in 2022, Starlink’s satellite internet services were available in Nigeria, making Nigeria the only African country to do so. Their owner, a wealthy businessman, is already mapping out and preparing for aggressive launches in other African countries.
Concerning the agreement between SpaceX and StarLink. They have begun installing its infrastructure in Nigeria. On his official account, Nigeria’s minister of new age, Isa Pantami, boasted that his country was the first in Africa to get the necessary collaboration and approval for deployment.
It is anticipated that as many as ten additional nations will witness the introduction of the service in 2023. These markets will include Angola, Mauritania, Kenya, Morocco, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, and Tanzania. Launches are scheduled for the second quarter of the year, with Kenya and Angola potentially being the second and third markets to access Starlink’s internet from space.
Higher speeds and lower latency in places with current coverage, more significant coverage areas reaching rural areas, and the ability for consumers to travel with their internet providers are Starlink’s main selling factors in these markets.
Space internet providers have historically failed to deliver high-speed internet at cheap pricing for average users, but the business claims on its website that it is reinventing the industry. Broadband Internet for Streaming, Online Games, Video Calls, and More “Starlink is the world’s first and biggest satellite constellation employing a low Earth orbit to offer broadband internet,” it states.
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Customers may get satellite internet wherever they are, including at home, at the office, on the road, at sea, and in the air.
Starlink’s offering is in direct competition with MTN, Airtel, and Vodacom, as well as fiber internet providers across Africa.
The advent of streaming media, online gaming, phone calls over the internet, and telecommuting/distance education/training are all factors that have increased the need for high-speed internet among Africa’s young and tech-savvy customers.
As a result, more money is being put into infrastructure, such as the introduction of 5G internet service.
According to TeleGeography’s latest report, Global Internet Geography, Africa’s broadband data capacity has grown by 44% over the previous five years, far more than the average global rise of 29%.
Wholesale internet connectivity rates are predicted to decrease as part of a global trend due to improved infrastructure, including Starlink. “As new global networks are deployed, operating and construction expenses are divided across more fiber pairs and more active capability, making each packet less expensive to transport,” the study states.
Starlink’s satellite dish retails for USD 599, and the monthly internet price for a residential house is $110, with customers having access to speeds of up to 150 Mbps.
Subscriptions in Nigeria, where the deployment is now underway, have been set at $43 monthly, suggesting that access fees will vary by nation.
While data costs have decreased across Africa over the past three years, Nigeria’s two largest telecommunications providers, Airtel and MTN, have recently raised their rates due to a sharp increase in operating expenses.
“Y’ello. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused by this comprehensive evaluation of our data pricing. In a tweet published in September 2022, MTN informed customers, “please notice that there has been a revision in tariffs of several MTN data plans.”
The Nigerian branch of Airtel acknowledged a consumer on Twitter in October for raising the cost of its data plans. “I’m sorry for the trouble. Our packages have changed, so please be aware. The N5,000 data pack has been raised to N5,500.
However, the image of prices has been very different on the opposite side of the continent.
Following a 5% modification of excise duty on airtime and phone services in July 2021, Kenya’s leading telecom, Safaricom, reduced the cost of its monthly voice, internet, and SMS service packages in December.
Safaricom’s $8 plan offers subscribers data packages of up to 15GB at a discount of 47 percent compared to its competitors’ plans. To Safaricom’s CEO, “by unifying our monthly plans, we strive to simplify our product portfolio while enabling our consumers to live a digital lifestyle economically,” the company aims to make its services more accessible and affordable.
Cable.co.uk’s Global Mobile Data Pricing 2022 study uses the most up-to-date information to find that Kenya and Nigeria are among the African nations with the lowest average price per gigabyte (1GB) of mobile data, at less than one dollar.
The average price in Nigeria is $0.71, making it the 48th most expensive country in the world, while the average price in Kenya is $0.84, placing it in the 61st position.