Nigerians willing to subscribe to Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service will have to cough out $600 to acquire the setup hardware. At the current black market rate of N730 to $1, this amounts to N438,000.
In addition, the subscription to Starlink’s service in Nigeria will cost $43 per month, which is about N31,000.
The company said Nigerians can pre-order the $600 hardware as it prepares to launch this year.
Regulatory approval: Starlink, which was expected to roll out its service in Nigeria before the end of last year, said its rollout is now “pending regulatory approval.”
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had last year noted that some administrative issues were delaying Starlink’s scheduled launch.
Two days to the end of last year, the Minister announced via his Twitter handle that Starlink had started deploying infrastructure in Nigeria. He said:
“They have now commenced the deployment of their facilities in Nigeria. Nigeria is the first African country to reach that partnership & also approval for the deployment.”
Earlier in December, the Minister disclosed that the Nigerian government has approved Starlink’s application as a High Throughput Satellite (HTS) Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Operator in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector.
“As part of the partnership, Space X is to provide broadband access across the whole of Nigeria, enabling nationwide access to broadband connectivity way ahead of the December 2025 schedule, as outlined in our National Broadband Plan. With this collaboration with SpaceX’s Starlink, Nigeria is set to be the 1st African country to introduce the service,” he said.
Concerns over price: Some Nigerians have, however, expressed concerns that the high cost of acquiring Starlink’s hardware is too high. They are also disturbed that Nigerians can only pay for the hardware and subscription in dollars, while most Nigerian banks have suspended dollar transactions on naira cards. Expressing his worry on Twitter, Ulasi Arinze said:
“The price is not encouraging at all and you can only pay in US dollars. The Starlink hardware kit is $600. The monthly subscription is better at $43/month but there is no option to pay in naira and Nigerian ATM cards can’t do intentional transactions above $20 per month.”
He added that the government’s assurance that Starlink will provide internet service to Nigerians in rural areas will be impossible with the high cost attached to the service.
However, another Twitter user, Love Joshua, suggests that Starlink service is not for everybody but for only those who have access to the dollar and who can pay for it.
“Most people who need and use Starlink are people who are already well vast in broadband tech and already have dollar accounts and or earn in dollars. Starlink is broadband, not mobile internet,” he said.