The Federal Government of Nigeria has engaged Elon Musk’s internet company, Starlink, to explore the possibility of establishing programs to create jobs in Nigeria through local maintenance and production of its hardware.
The Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, who disclosed this on a Sunday, mentioned that the discussions had taken place on the sidelines of the International Telecommunication Union-World Radio Communication (ITU-WRC) Conference in Dubai.
Tijani explained that he met with Ryan Goodnight, the Senior Director of Global Licensing and Activation at SpaceX.
He mentioned that the discussion focused on how Starlink could establish a program to certify local installers and maintenance personnel in Nigeria and explore contracts for hardware startups to produce Starlink’s repeater boxes locally.
This revelation coincided with the acknowledgement from a Starlink official who declared Nigeria the company’s largest market, as stated by the Minister.
Sharing the discussion details through a post on his social media handle, the Communications Minister stated: “Excellent conversation with Ryan Goodnight, Snr. Director, Global Licensing & Activation of @SpaceX on the sidelines of ITU-WRC 23, who shared that Nigeria is their biggest market in Africa. As demand for @Starlink continues to grow in Nigeria, we spoke about the issue of connecting unserved and underserved Nigerians. I also mentioned the possibility of creating thousands of new jobs in Nigeria through initiatives like a certified installer/maintenance programme for Starlink and working with hardware startups to produce repeater boxes locally.”
“Our intention is to encourage every tech company to invest and deepen our tech ecosystem.”
Starlink’s Presence in Nigeria
While Starlink officially declared its entry into the Nigerian market in January of the current year, Nigerians had pre-ordered its hardware since the preceding year.
Despite its relatively higher costs than local Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Starlink garnered significant interest among Nigerians seeking to switch their service providers.
The widespread availability of its satellite service proved particularly enticing for individuals residing in areas with inadequate internet connectivity, prompting them to opt for Starlink.
According to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Starlink has emerged as one of the leading ISPs in Nigeria in terms of customer numbers.
As of the end of June, Starlink Nigeria boasted a customer base of 6,756. This figure surpassed the customer numbers of many local ISPs operating in Nigeria for several years.
In a strategic move to expand its customer base, Starlink reduced its hardware costs by 21% last month, aiming to capture a larger share of the Nigerian ISP market.
Following this price adjustment, Starlink’s hardware cost decreased to N299,500 from the previous N378,000.
Despite the reduction in hardware costs, the monthly subscription fee remained unchanged at N38,000 per month.