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Starlink Skyrockets Hardware Costs in Nigeria Amid Naira Devaluation

Elon Musk’s satellite internet venture, Starlink, has dealt a major blow to Nigerian consumers by hiking the price of its hardware equipment by a staggering 112% within the country. The satellite dish and accompanying router, previously available for ₦378,000, now demand a hefty ₦800,000 from customers seeking to access Starlink’s high-speed internet service.

While the monthly subscription fee of ₦38,000 remains unchanged, the exorbitant upfront cost for the hardware poses a significant barrier to entry, especially in a nation grappling with a rapidly depreciating currency. The Nigerian naira has experienced a dramatic plunge against the U.S. dollar, plummeting from ₦907 per dollar in December 2023 to a dismal ₦1,602 as of March 7, 2024, on the official market.

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Despite its premium pricing compared to local internet service providers (ISPs), Starlink has gained considerable traction in Nigeria since its official launch in January 2023. The company’s ubiquitous satellite coverage and promise of reliable internet connectivity have appealed to consumers in areas plagued by poor network infrastructure. According to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Starlink has swiftly risen to become one of the leading ISPs in the country, boasting a customer base of 11,207 as of Q3 2023 – a figure that surpasses many long-standing local providers.

While Starlink has not offered an explicit rationale for the substantial price hike, industry observers attribute the move to the naira’s rapid devaluation, which has significantly eroded the company’s revenue in dollar terms. As Nigerian consumers grapple with the economic implications of this decision, the affordability of Starlink’s service may become a pressing concern, potentially hindering its ability to further penetrate the market.

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