Musk told a telecom industry event that his global satellite internet venture was targeted at people in remote areas, even those without electricity, but added that the network would also negotiate partnerships with national service providers.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he is ready to invest $30 billion in his Starlink satellite internet service — but only expects around 500,000 users in the first year.
Speaking via Zoom from California, to Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress 2021 on Tuesday, Musk said he expects to invest $5-$10 billion in the SpaceX spin-off before it turns a profit.
Starlink already has a constellation of 1,500 satellites in orbit and is expected to offer worldwide service by August. Currently, the network has just 69,420 clients.
The Starlink receiver equipment, with its often-referred-to “UFO on a stick” terminal, tripod and WiFi router, costs a user $500 — a loss for the company, reportedly, which pays $1,000 per set. “We’d like to reduce the cost of the terminal from $500 to $200 or $350 or something like that,” Musk said.
The service costs $100 per month, “the same price all over the world”, he added.
Musk also claimed that the company had partnership agreements with national telecoms companies in two countries — which he did not name — and was in talks with others.
Other technical details revealed by Musk include that the Starlink satellites orbit around 300 miles (500 km) above the Earth’s surface, half as far as geosynchronous satellites, which orbit above a fixed ground point, at 621 miles (1,000 km).