The Federal Government of Nigeria has held discussions with Elon Musk’s internet company, Starlink, to explore the possibility of setting up programs that will create jobs in Nigeria through local maintenance and production of its hardware. The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, announced this during the International Telecommunication Union-World Radio Communication (ITU-WRC) Conference in Dubai.
The discussions took place between Minister Tijani and Ryan Goodnight, Senior Director of Global Licensing and Activation at SpaceX, the parent company of Starlink. The focus of the discussions was on how Starlink could establish a program to certify local installers and maintenance personnel in Nigeria. Additionally, the aim was to explore contracts with hardware startups in Nigeria for the production of Starlink’s repeater boxes within the country.
According to Minister Tijani, Nigeria is considered to be Starlink’s largest market in Africa. The Minister emphasized the potential for creating thousands of new jobs in Nigeria through initiatives like the certified installer and maintenance program for Starlink. The government aims to encourage investments from tech companies to further develop the country’s technology ecosystem.
Starlink officially announced its presence in Nigeria in January 2022, although Nigerians have been pre-ordering its hardware since the previous year. Despite the higher costs compared to local internet service providers, Starlink has gained significant interest among Nigerians seeking to change their service providers. The widespread coverage provided by Starlink’s satellite service also appeals to individuals in areas with poor internet networks.
Data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) indicates that Starlink is now one of the leading ISPs in Nigeria based on customer numbers. As of June, Starlink Nigeria had a customer base of 6,756, surpassing many local ISPs that have been operating in the country for several years.
In an effort to attract more customers, Starlink recently reduced the cost of its hardware by 21%. The hardware cost was lowered to N299,500, while the monthly subscription fee remained at N38,000. This move was aimed at gaining a larger share of the Nigerian ISP market.
Overall, the collaboration between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Starlink has the potential to not only expand access to reliable internet services but also create job opportunities through local maintenance and production of Starlink’s hardware.