Despite the price tag that has been put on Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite, many Nigerians may be willing to sign up considering the service it is positioned to offer.

Nigerians will pay $600 to acquire the setup hardware and a $43 monthly subscription which did not sit well in the eyes of many.

Many Internet service providers have reportedly tightened their belts in preparation for competition with the satellite owned by the former richest man in the world.

According to Chris Hall, former UK commercial director, Starlink will play an important role in connecting schools and hospitals in remote areas of Nigeria and other African countries.

In the wider coverage area, Starlink promised to provide fast Internet connections in rural and underserved areas. This remains a milestone that has yet to be achieved by telecom providers in Nigeria, which do not have everything it takes to reach rural and underserved areas.

“It will definitely help those in the rural area where MTN and other telecommunication networks do not have a good presence. Satellites can cover those areas that telecommunications companies cannot penetrate. With these Elon Musk satellites, rural areas will have the opportunity to use internet connections. And it will boost broadband so that underserved areas can now have full access to internet connections,” said Ajibola Olude, Secretary of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

Also Read: Top 50 Digital Economy Enablers to Provide an Ecosystem Roadmap

According to Ookla, the average speed of mobile internet via cellular is 17.38 Mbps, while fixed Wi-Fi is 10.06 Mbps. However, Starlink will provide a speed of 104 Mbps, which is several times faster.

Bello Gbadebo, a Nigerian on social media who placed an order for a Starlink router, said he was pleased with the speed and latency of the network despite spending up to N400,000 to reserve and fix the satellite.

“Just got a chance to try my Starlink, haven’t tried it much but so far I’m pretty impressed. Got around 20Mbps on initial test and then went up to around 240Mbps. Latency is pretty decent too,” he tweeted.

According to him, he tested the satellite from Abeokuta, Ogun State, where he has had big problems with sub-par internet.

He said: “Even the hubs here don’t have the internet part figured out yet, so it’s really a big problem for me to be able to get more than 200 Mbps. I get this speed despite not putting the dish up very high and have more than 30 percent clogging, which my Starlink considers really bad. I wonder if it will improve if it is placed on the ceiling.”

However, the ATCON secretary revealed that Starlink will be positioned to serve both public and corporate organizations as well as the retail market, a feature that makes it totally different from the already existing satellites in Nigeria. He noted that the previous satellite in Nigeria focused on selling capacity to its members.

In addition, the satellite that has been approved by the Nigerian government will have the necessary backing to generate more tax revenue, increase investment and attract investors in the telecom sector and achieve the broadband plan 2025 which will have a good effect on the economy.

However, Musk Starlink, which will provide stable connections in all subscribed locations, will help in the federal government’s quest to achieve 70 percent broadband penetration by 2025, as set out in Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan.

Data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that as of November 2022, broadband penetration in Nigeria was 46 per cent and it is still looking to meet the plan by 2025.

According to experts, Starlinks’ presence in Nigeria will help in the fight to make the plan a reality by 2025 if the government makes other efforts.

A Nigerian telecom sector source said: “Although it is quite expensive, it will help in the plans to achieve the broadband plan of 2025. If all efforts are made in areas like infrastructure, cost reduction and others, then Starlink will be an impulse to achieve the process”.