Starlink, a satellite internet provider that went live in Nigeria on Monday, has excited many subscribers who can afford it for its super-speed capabilities.
Starlink hardware and shipping cost N276,000 ($600). The monthly subscription is set at N19,780 ($43), making it the most expensive internet service in the country. But many Nigerians, especially entrepreneurs, and businesses may be more motivated by speed than high cost. Starlink says that Nigeria is the first African country where the service will launch.
“Most businesses are heavily dependent on the Internet, including banks, government organizations, small and medium-sized businesses, and large multinationals. Individuals like developers, digital marketers, and remote workers can attest to challenges like insufficient bandwidth, poor connection, frequent downtime, “unlimited” plans with caps, and various concerns. This will be a thing of the past with Starlink. According to surveys conducted between 2021 and today, Starlink is one of the fastest and most reliable Internet service providers in the world,” said Abdulrahman Tunde, a cyber security expert.
Tayo Oviosu, CEO of Paga Communications, a fintech company, published the result of a speed test he conducted on Starlink and fiber broadband in Lagos. The two diagrams he posted on his verified Twitter account showed Starlink with a huge advantage of 230 Mbps compared to fiber internet at 14 Mbps. Starlink also boasts a latency of 132 milliseconds for Lagos, while fiber has six milliseconds. of latency.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends that 100 Mbps be considered minimum bandwidth. Ookla, a company that tracks Internet speeds, found that the average Internet speed in the US in October 2022 for fixed broadband was around 182 Mbps download and 22 Mbps upload. Nigeria, on the other hand, records downloads of 11.40 Mbps and uploads of 9.87 Mbps for fixed broadband, making the country one of the lowest at 145. MTN’s recently launched 5G service boasts a speed of 130 Mbps.
Therefore, Internet download speeds of 200 Mbps and 20 Mbps are considered a huge leap and would excite the country’s up-and-coming tech entrepreneurs. Anything with 200 Mbps will be able to handle multiple online activities for numerous users without interruption.
Starlink therefore poses new competitive pressures for existing operators. According to Ookla, Airtel, which boasts a download speed of 22.42 Mbps, leads the industry, though it teeters on latency at 26 milliseconds compared to 9Mobile at 33 milliseconds.
However, Nigerian subscribers can only order Starlink from the website using dollar cards which may cost more due to additional fees.
“I noticed that while the price (using the official rate) on the website is in naira, you can only use dollar cards to pay for Starlink in Nigeria,” said Temidayo Oniosun, managing director of Space in Africa. “Someone has to solve this problem of currency remittances; otherwise, very soon, the naira cards would become worthless,” he added.