The entry of Elon Musk’s Starlink into the Nigerian telecoms market is set to drive a new wave of competition among the telecommunications service providers in the country.
The new entrant will have to battle for customers who are currently subscribing to internet service from MTN, Globacom, Airtel, 9mobile, and over 200 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) earlier licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Nairametrics reported yesterday that Starlink had acquired two licences from the NCC, which include an International Gateway licence and an ISP licence.
With the ISP licence, Starlink will be competing with the top ISPs in Nigeria such as Spectranet, FibreOne, Tizeti, iPNX, among others, and the mobile network operators, who currently have the larger chunk of internet customers in Nigeria.
Although Starlink has an edge over other service providers in that it will be providing its service via satellite, which can be accessed anywhere all over the country, its survival will depend on how competitive its prices are.
Why it matters
Stiff competition in the market often forces the operators to crash their prices as they battle for customers. Should Starlink be willing to compete on the price front, this will be a big win for internet users in Nigeria.
With satellite service from Starlink, Nigeria will be able to bridge its access gap, especially in the rural areas not being reached by the current operators. Starlink is a low latency broadband internet system created to meet the needs of consumers in rural areas with low internet penetration across the globe.
In terms of speed, Starlink is theoretically capable of delivering 150Mbps internet speeds to any place on the planet. This will challenge other operators in the country to upgrade their broadband services to achieve competitive speed in the market.
What you should know
With the International Gateway licence, Starlink is allowed to construct, own, operate, maintain and use an International Gateway for the provision and operation of international access and gateway services in Nigeria.
This means that the company can provide services such as global mobile personal communication by satellite, mobile radio services, VSAT Services, internet node, and backbone services.
In this category, Starlink will be competing with Globacom, Prest Cable & Satellite TV Systems Ltd, IMBIL Telecom Solutions Nig Ltd, and Green Foot Global Resources Ltd., who all have the same licence in Nigeria
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