The Federal Government of Nigeria has entered into discussions with Starlink, Elon Musk’s internet company, to explore the possibility of creating job opportunities in Nigeria through local maintenance and production of Starlink hardware. The Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, revealed that these discussions took place during the International Telecommunication Union-World Radio Communication Conference in Dubai.
During the conference, Dr. Tijani met with Ryan Goodnight, the Senior Director of Global Licensing and Activation at SpaceX, to discuss potential programs that could certify local installers and maintenance personnel in Nigeria. Additionally, they explored the idea of partnering with hardware startups in Nigeria to produce Starlink’s repeater boxes locally. The Minister emphasized that Nigeria is considered the biggest market for Starlink in Africa.
The Minister shared details of his conversation with Ryan Goodnight on social media, where he expressed his enthusiasm for connecting underserved and unserved Nigerians. Dr. Tijani also highlighted the possibility of job creation through initiatives such as a certified installer and maintenance program for Starlink, as well as collaboration with hardware startups for local production.
Starlink officially launched its presence in Nigeria earlier this year, but Nigerians have already been pre-ordering its hardware since last year. Despite the higher costs compared to local Internet service providers (ISPs), Starlink has garnered significant interest from Nigerians eager for a change in their Internet services. The reliable satellite service offered by Starlink is particularly attractive to individuals in areas with poor internet connectivity.
According to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Starlink has become one of the leading ISPs in Nigeria in terms of customer numbers. As of June, Starlink Nigeria had a customer base of 6,756, surpassing the customer numbers of many local ISPs that have been operating in the country for years.
To further expand its customer base, Starlink recently reduced its hardware costs by 21%, making it more accessible to Nigerians. However, the monthly subscription fees remained unchanged.
The engagement between the Nigerian government and Starlink aims to encourage investment in the country’s tech ecosystem, while also ensuring job creation and better connectivity for Nigerians.