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GADGET REVIEW: Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet device is now in Nigeria, but is the ₦450k investment worth it?



2023 will be a fast year for many reasons. We are a week gone already, and its remaining 51 weeks which may soon be covered faster than imagined.

Since tech billionaire, Elon Musk, had in 2022 shown interest in the Nigerian market with his Starlink as an internet service venture, many have been on the look out for what the Musk team would offer.

Some described the move as a win-win for heavy internet users, especially startups, companies, remote workers and freelancers.

While a lot of people have considered it a worthy exploit, some analysts, however, have noted concerns how it could be a potential threat to existing internet service providers, especially an indigenous one like Mike Adenuga’s Globacom that launched exactly 20 years ago on the 29th of August, 2003.

There is a market for any product in Nigeria. It’s such a beautiful country that doesn’t discriminate, and ever open to adopt and adapt new ideas and products.

2023 is not different. Starlink is now in use in Nigeria, and here is the first gadget review of the internet service device.

How much does it cost to own a starlink device?

When the pre-order was announced in 2022, the management pegged it at $100. According to Starlink, the price was to reserve buying slots for interested and potential customers.

They had announced that anyone who made payment would be notified once the gadgets were ready for market to make payment for actual orders at additional $500 to make $600 procurement fee.

As of January 7, there is a long waiting list of Nigerians who have made pre-order payment and waiting to complete their purchase.

Tentatively, getting the device will cost interested Nigerians a figure around ₦450,000, exclusive of a monthly $43 subscription charges for unlimited data usage. At $43, this means Nigerians have to budget about ₦31k to enjoy uninterrupted internet connection —in the remotest of places.

How is the device powered?

Power source is one of the most important aspect of any electronic device. In engineering: the easier the energy source or power, the easier the marketing of the product will be.

This is especially true, and for a country like Nigeria, where electricity is epileptic, power design is of the essence.

The Starlink device scores low here. Using Starlink requires that you plug the device to a power source when in use as it is not rechargeable like MTN Mifi devices.

READ ALSO:Elon Musk’s Starlink to cost Nigerians N479,035; MTN, Airtel, others to benefit

Companies, co-working hubs, corporate offices or homes with 24/7 solar power will find the device worthy. Outside this, it can be a waste of investment for struggling SMEs as radio internet devices of this type consume electricity and may require air conditioning to keep device cool.

How do you make payment

It is important to know how to pay for orders. Like most e-commerce products, you are expected to pay via cards and tokens.

For the Starlink device, some users explained they cleared their order paying via a dollar card.

With restrictions placed on dollar by the CBN, a dollar card may be the only option.

A Twitter user, Bello Gbadebo, who made a purchase recently revealed that it took him a week to receive his device after payment.

“I pre-ordered in October when it was available for shipping,” he said. “The pre-order cost $100. Made the final order in December and it took a week and a few days to get here. Cost $500, making the total $600.”

What’s the speed and Latency?

“It gets much lower most times and higher a few times. It gets as low as 18ms, but not all the time,” says Bello, who tested (firsthand) the device from his residence at Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He added: “Got about 20Mbps on the initial test and it went up to about 240Mbps afterwards. The latency is pretty decent as well.”

What are people saying?

Aside Bello’s, other reviews of the product and company have not been positive. Many complained of bad customer support, with some having to wait months unending.

How prepared is Starlink for Nigeria? How prepared are Nigerians for Starlink?

Nigeria may be a good market for products, but can also be a killjoy. The ban of bike hailing companies such as Gokada, MaxNG and Opay by the Lagos Government remains fresh in memory. We might ask, again: How prepared is Elon Musk’s Starlink for Nigeria? How prepared are Nigerians for Starlink?

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