SpaceX wants to secure licences to fully launch its satellite Internet service in Nigeria

by | May 8, 2021

US-based Space exploration company, SpaceX has said it is working with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to secure the required licences to launch Starlink, its satellite Internet service, in Nigeria.

Per the NCC, Ryan Goodnight, SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa, disclosed this in a meeting with NCC’s Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC). Umar Danbatta on Friday in Abuja.

Apparently, SpaceX had been in many virtual discussions with the NCC for several months, and both parties finally agreed on a face-to-face meeting to discuss the project’s prospects in Nigeria.

The NCC states that its decision on SpaceX’s proposal will be made in line with its regulatory duties to ensure healthy competition among telecom companies in Nigeria.

Advertisement

It’s been the works

Space X

SpaceX satellites orbiting Nigeria. Source: satellitemap.space

Founded by Elon Musk in 2002, SpaceX develops Starlink, a mega constellation on Satellites to bring commercial Internet services to people across the globe. As of April 2021, SpaceX had launched over 1,400 Starlink satellites.

A March 2021 Space in Africa report revealed that the company already planned a late 2021 and 2022 launch, first in Nigeria, and then the rest of Africa.

The Starlink service has already begun a pre-order programme which takes about six months to fulfil. You can pre-order for $99 (₦37,670). The full Starlink kit — a mounting tripod, WiFi router, and a terminal — costs $499 (₦190,000).

We went searching and, it appears that in January 2021 the NCC granted SpaceX permission to “beam their signals till November 2026 over Nigerian territory.”

At the time of granting the licence, SpaceX had launched 893 satellites and, per the NCC, SpaceX has a Landing Permit for its full constellation of 4,408 satellites. The Landing Permit will be subject to review once all 4,408 satellites have been launched.

As of press time, we found three Starlink satellites — 46135, 46078, and 44282 — orbiting Nigeria, and a closer look reveals several others also orbit Nigeria and other African countries at different times of the day. Given the NCC’s statement, it’s safe to say that nearly all Starlink satellites can beam their signals to Nigeria.

Looking forward

SpaceX PIX scaled 2

From L – R: Consultant to SpaceX, Levin Born; Director, Spectrum Administration, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Oluwatoyin Asaju; Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska; SpaceX’s Starlink Market Access Director for Africa, Ryan Goodnight and Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, during the SpaceX’s presentation to the Commission in Abuja.

While Starlink would bring widespread connectivity to unserved and underserved areas, its current cost seems prohibitive. The ₦37,670 is above minimum wage for the average Nigerian user, but it seems cheaper than most dedicated Internet service lines in Nigeria.

The Nigerian government plans to bring in 90% of its population online by 2025, and cost issues aside, Starlink’s technology might be one of the ways to achieve this.

Advertisement

Recall that the Nigerian government also partnered with Microsoft to launch its Airban initiative, a technology that uses TV White Spaces to bring Internet connectivity.

On a much larger scale, Facebook has launched 2Africa, a $1 billion undersea Internet cable for faster Internet in Africa.

Featured image by NASA on Unsplash

DON’T MISS OUT!
Techpoint Digest
A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day!
Stay Updated
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime. Privacy Policy.
Senior Reporter at | Website

Writer and Narrator.  Tech, business and policy analysis is my daily bread.

Looking to chat? Catch up with me, @eruskkii, on Twitter or send a mail to emmanuel@techpoint.africa

Techpoint Build 2021 is here! Be part of the largest gathering of innovators, startup founders, thinkers, programmers, policymakers, and investors in West Africa. Register free now.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent News

I wasn’t expecting this

I wasn’t expecting this

Today on #TechpointDigest, @OnomeOneyibo discusses #WorldFoodDay, PaySika’s $350 pre-seed, and several other things tech.

DON’T MISS OUT!
Techpoint Digest
A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day!
Stay Updated
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime. Privacy Policy.
close-link

Subscribe to Techpoint Digest!

A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day!

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Crypto Explorer

A monthly series featuring in-depth analysis on the cryptocurrency sector in Africa

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to The Experts

A bi-weekly where tech career specialists take us on their journey from newbie to expert, and how they became successful in the industry.

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Founder's Table

A monthly series, where we catch up with founders in the startup ecosystem, learn about their failures, successes and a few tricks of the trade

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap