SpaceX subsidiary, Starlink, had set ambitious revenue targets for the end of 2022, aiming to generate $12 billion annually and achieve positive cash flow. However, recent documents reveal that Starlink fell significantly short of these goals, reporting only $1.4 billion in revenue for the year. Despite surpassing its revenue from the previous year, which stood at $222 million, the figure is still far from satisfying CEO Elon Musk’s expectations.
The satellite division that later became Starlink had projected $12 billion in revenue and $7 billion in operating profit by 2022, with an estimated 20 million subscribers, according to a 2015 fundraising presentation. However, the actual number of subscribers at the end of last year was just one million, as disclosed by SpaceX.
SpaceX, being a private company, keeps its financial details closely guarded. Investors eagerly seek any information that sheds light on the company’s valuation, currently standing at $150 billion, making it the second most valuable private company globally, following ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Starlink experienced a loss in 2022, followed by a slim profit in the first quarter of this year. SpaceX’s total capital expenditures reached $3.2 billion in 2022. Alongside Starlink, the company’s main business involves launching rockets for governmental and commercial clients.
Starlink offers high-speed broadband internet at a monthly fee of $110 or more, along with a one-time installation fee of $599 for a ground terminal. While the rate exceeds that of most optic fiber internet services, Starlink distinguishes itself by providing internet access worldwide, even in remote areas and mobile spaces like airplanes and boats, where fiber optics are unavailable.
Presently, Starlink operates approximately 4,700 satellites in low-Earth orbit and serves customers across 60 countries. However, the market size has yet to match Musk’s revenue ambitions.
In February of this year, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell announced that Starlink achieved positive cash flow for a quarter in 2022, without specifying which quarter. She also expressed confidence in Starlink turning a profit this year. Musk previously stated that SpaceX would spin off Starlink into a separate company and take it public once the satellite internet business demonstrated financial viability.