Elon Musk says SpaceX’s Starlink is on track to have more than 500,000 users within 12 months

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Elon Musk says SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service is on track to have more than 500,000 users within 12 months – and the company could invest up to $30 BILLION into the project

  • Elon Musk spoke via Zoom during Mobile World Congress 2021 in Barcelona
  • Musk announced Starlink is likely to hit 500,000 users within the next year
  • He also expects to invest $5 to $10 billion before Starlink is cash positive
  • However, he foresees investing $20 to $30 billion over the project’s lifetime


SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Tuesday that the company’s Starlink satellite internet is on track to gain ‘possibly over 500,000 users within 12 months.’

Musk, speaking via Zoom at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress 2021, added that he foresees up to $10 billion in investments before Starlink reaches positive cash and a whopping $20 to $30 billion over the project’s lifetime. 

‘It’s a lot, basically,’ Musk said in a video interview from California, who also noted that the main goal of this project is to ‘not bankrupt.’ 

Currently, the service has 69,420 active users, less than five percent of internet users.

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Elon Musk said Tuesday that SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet is on track to gain 'possibly over 500,000 users within 12 months.' The CEO spoke via Zoom at Mobile World Congress 2021, where he revealed updates on Stralink, which currently has 69,420 active users

Elon Musk said Tuesday that SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet is on track to gain ‘possibly over 500,000 users within 12 months.’ The CEO spoke via Zoom at Mobile World Congress 2021, where he revealed updates on Stralink, which currently has 69,420 active users

Starlink now has more than 1,500 satellites aloft and expects service to go global by August, Musk said. 

‘You can think of Starlink as filling in the gaps between 5G and fiber,’ added Musk, ‘really getting to the most difficult to reach three or five percent’ of people in need of high-speed broadband internet.  

Musk also gave updates on the service, noting Starlink satellites are at around 300 miles (500km) above the surface, while geosynchronous satellites are at about 621 miles (1,000 km). 

Geosynchronous satellites have an orbital period that matches Earth’s rotation point and take 24 hours to complete a rotation around our planet. 

The service serves less than five percent of internet users and Musk foresees up to $10 billion in investments before Starlink reaches positive cash and a whopping $20 to $30 billion over the project's lifetime

The service serves less than five percent of internet users and Musk foresees up to $10 billion in investments before Starlink reaches positive cash and a whopping $20 to $30 billion over the project’s lifetime

Starlink now has more than 1,500 satellites aloft and expects service to go global by August, Musk said

Starlink now has more than 1,500 satellites aloft and expects service to go global by August, Musk said

These satellites mostly beam signals down for cable television, but NASA has its own that sends communications and data between spacecraft.

Purchasing a Starlink Kit costs customers about $500, combined with the monthly service of $100, which the billionaire said is ‘the same price all over the world.’ 

The Starlink Kit that includes the ‘UFO on a stick’ terminal, mounting tripod and WiFi router. 

However, taxes and import costs can raise costs, Musk added.

The CEO was not shy about telling the world that SpaceX is losing money on Starlink terminals, explaining it costs $1,000 for the company to make and customers get it for half that. 

‘We’d like to reduce the cost of the terminal from $500 to $200 or $350 or something like that,’ he said.

Purchasing a Starlink Kit costs customers about $500, combined with the monthly service of $100, which the billionaire said is 'the same price all over the world'

Purchasing a Starlink Kit costs customers about $500, combined with the monthly service of $100, which the billionaire said is ‘the same price all over the world’

The Starlink Kit that includes the 'UFO on a stick' terminal, mounting tripod and WiFi router

The Starlink Kit that includes the ‘UFO on a stick’ terminal, mounting tripod and WiFi router

‘Our customers will very often live in remote regions. Sometimes they’re up in a cabin up in the mountain that doesn’t even have electricity!’

Musk also spoke about the potential for partnerships with mobile operators. 

We have two quite significant partnerships that — with major country telcos [telecommunications companies], and we are in discussions with others,’ he said. 

‘This is helpful because a number of countries have requirements that — in order to receive a 5G license, you also have to provide rural coverage. So sometimes urban customers end up subsidizing rural customers.’

However, Musk decline to name the telecommunication companies.

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