Naira appreciation: Starlink slashes price router price to N440,000

Internet connectivity provider, Starlink has slashed the price of its hardware to N440,000. This follows the recently increasing strengthening of the naira against the dollar.

This is a 45 per cent reduction from the N800,000 cost of the hardware router as of Monday. According to a new price update released by the company, yesterday, the monthly subscription for the internet service remains unchanged at N38,000 per month.

“N440,000 new hardware price. Unlimited high-speed internet for N38,000 per month. Available everywhere in Nigeria,” the internet company said on its website.

As of February 2024, the Starlink router was been sold for N378,000. An increment regime implemented in early March saw a price jump to N800,000. This was evidently in response to the rapidly declining value of the naira to as high as N1900 to a dollar. The naira has since appreciated from record lows close to N2,000/$ to N1230.61/$ as of April 8, 2024, on the official window.

This is the second time the satellite internet service provider has slashed its prices in Nigeria. Recall that Starlink announced a price reduction for its hardware in Nigeria in October 2023. The cost of the Starlink kit, essential for accessing the service, was slashed by 21% from ₦378,000 to ₦299,000.

Starlink officially announced its presence in Nigeria in January 2023. The company, which initially quoted its prices in dollars at $600 for the hardware and $43 for the subscription, changed to naira upon its official announcement.

According to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Starlink is now one of the leading ISPs in Nigeria in terms of customer numbers. As of Q3 2023, Starlink Nigeria’s customer base stood at 11,207.

Although the company did not state any reason for the price slash, the recent appreciation of the naira against the US dollar and other foreign currencies may have influenced Starlink’s decision.

However, Starlink appears to be on a price reduction drive across other markets. The internet company also announced earlier in the week that it has slashed hardware prices in South Africa from 12,000 rands to 6,800. The company has also launched in more countries, including Mongolia and Argentina.

A Starlink hardware router in Nigeria…

The government of Ghana is considering granting SpaceX’s Starlink an operational licence to provide Internet connectivity to its citizens. Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful made this known during a meeting with members of parliament over the current internet disruptions in the country.

“Starlink is in the process of being licensed”, the minister said. 

Ghana is one of the over 40 African countries without Starlink satellite internet access. As of October 2023, Starlink is officially available in seven African countries. They are Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Malawi, and Zambia. Intending customers from these countries can order a router directly from the Starlink website.

In regions where Starlink’s service is not yet officially available, users can access it through global or regional roaming by importing the necessary kit from a country where Starlink delivers its service. While the roaming option provides access to Starlink, it comes at a slightly higher cost than using the service in the country of registration.

In addition, 25 African countries that previously had unknown availability dates are scheduled to receive Starlink by the end of 2024.

But, South Africa is one African country that is conspicuously absent from the list of upcoming availabilities. This omission could be due to a requirement under the Electronic Communications Act, which mandates that all telecom licensees in South Africa must be at least 30% owned by historically disadvantaged groups.

Hence, the country was classified as a low-priority market by the internet service company.

Starlink took action by disconnecting hundreds of customers in South Africa, where the service is prohibited, citing a violation of terms of use. This move signals a willingness to enforce its policies, but the fate of users in other African countries, such as Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, where the service is also banned, remains uncertain.

Although Starlink is not licensed in South Africa, South Africans are accessing its service locally using a global or regional roaming subscription.

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