Elon Musk, who is known for overly optimistic promises and claims, made some bold statements regarding the future of Starlink at MWC 2021. Tesla’s CEO not only expects Starlink to become available worldwide in August, but also hopes it will have over 500,000 users in the first 12 months after launch.
Although it’s still in open beta, SpaceX’s Starlink has close to 70,000 users using the broadband Internet service, but that should increase significantly starting August. By then, the company’s CEO expects to launch all 72 orbital planes that will provide worldwide coverage, except for the polar regions, which should “take another 6 months.”
During MWC 2021, Elon Musk shared his predictions on the number of Starlink users, claiming the internet service will have “possibly over 500,000 users within 12 months.” Looking at it from another perspective, Starlink “just” has to sign 430,000 customers by August 2022.
Starlink is currently available in 11 countries and costs $99 per month, but users still have to pay for the hardware bundle (Starlink dish + Wi-Fi router) priced at $500. According to Musk, the bundle costs over $1,000 to manufacture, but next-gen terminals will be less costly to make, therefore cheaper to customers at about $250-300.
To see Elon Musk plans come to fruition, Starlink will need approval from regional telcos and take care of the regulatory paperwork before expanding to other countries. The company’s CEO stated SpaceX has already partnered with two “major country” telcos but didn’t specify which ones. Elon also mentioned SpaceX’s Starship system during an interview, where he said that the first orbital Starship test should be launched in the next few months.