Starlink, a set of low-orbit satellites that offer high-speed, low-latency connectivity, is already offering a test service and aims to cover the world starting in August, said Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, founder of SpaceX, at the Mobile World Congress.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk said Tuesday that his Starlink company was growing rapidly, as he forecast total investment costs in the satellite Internet business to be between $ 20 million and $ 30 million.
Without revealing details, he also said Starlink has “two pretty important partnerships with the country’s top telecommunications companies” that could help the SpaceX division fill the gaps in fifth-generation mobile and cellular networks.
The CEO of Tesla Inc. and founder of SpaceX, a rocket company looking to colonize Mars, said the investment costs before Starlink reaches a fully positive cash flow would be $ 5 billion to $ 10 billion.
“It’s basically a lot,” Musk said in a video interview from California with the Mobile World Congress, the largest annual meeting of the telecommunications industry, held in Barcelona.
Starlink, a set of low-orbit satellites that offer high-speed, low-latency connectivity, is already offering a test service and aims to cover the world, except for the north and south poles, starting in August. said Musk.
It has more than 1,500 satellites and operates in about a dozen countries, adding more each month, with Musk predicting that the total number of customers would reach half a million over the next 12 months. from the current 69,000.
Some analysts question whether satellite Internet can be a viable business model because it targets primarily remote areas, where perhaps not enough people are able to pay the high rates needed to recoup investment costs.
Musk said he was talking to potential partners, as several countries require operators to provide rural coverage as a condition of 5G licenses.
He also said that if telecom operators have mobile stations in remote regions, they can use Starlink to allow them to connect to basic networks.
The rapid spread of wireless and terrestrial broadband, along with high prices, were significant factors in the demise of previous low-orbit Earth satellite companies.
Starlink sells terminals at half price, Musk said, adding that he expects to reduce terminal costs by more than $ 1,000 to $ 300-500 in the next 12 months.
“If we manage not to go bankrupt, it will be fantastic and we will be able to move on from there,” he said.
Starlink faces competition from several players, including the subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc., Kuiper and OneWeb, a collapsed satellite operator rescued by the British government and Indian companies Bharti.