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Telecoms Profitability IG

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Question from first IG meeting:

StarLink are doing extremely well in Africa even though the mobile coverage 4G is relatively good. Why is that?

I suspect it is the price. Or the Hype.

The way Starlink advertise, people may think this is a new service, but it is not. Global Satellite coverage has been available for decades.

The Business Case for Starlink, over the existing satellite coverage, was the low Latency (delay) for high-value Gamers and Financial Institutions. That is a premium service. But it is being mainly sold as a low-value coverage.

It is also heavily subsidised by the USA government for the war in Ukraine and Rural high speed Broadband rollout in the USA.


The main problem is that launching Satellites is very expensive, and they have a short life of <5 years, so they constantly need to be replaced, a large ongoing Cost. They are also very vulnerable to weather (hot and cold) natural events like solar flares, space debris, etc. Not to mention the problems they cause for space observations.

While Fibre uses mainly existing infrastructure (Duct, Poles and Exchange buildings), is very reliable and has a very long life 20 to 50 years, with very little incremental Cost.

So, over the long term, Fibre is much cheaper and robust than Satellite.


Also many of the more advanced Fibre countries are now having 1Gbps as the standard with options of up to 10Gbps. Much faster. These increases only need relatively small incremental Cost.


If anyone has Starlink can you share your reasons for using it?

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