Starlink, the satellite internet service owned by Elon Musk’s Space X, is reducing its prices in Nigeria and partnering with Jumia, a popular e-commerce platform, to expand its reach and acquire more users. By offering a 20% discount on its kit, the company hopes to address affordability concerns. The average Nigerian monthly salary is below ₦124,000 ($124), making the original price of ₦378,000 ($378) difficult to afford.
Starlink entered Africa in 2023 with plans to provide fast-speed internet to remote areas. With a 100Mbps download speed, which is significantly higher than the average mobile internet speed in sub-Saharan Africa, Starlink offers a potential solution for the African market. However, the company has faced challenges in terms of adoption, including affordability and regulatory hurdles.
In Nigeria, Starlink has struggled to capture a significant market share due to its high price. While about 70% of Nigerians suffer from poor internet speed, the cost of the Starlink kit remains out of reach for the majority of the population, even with a discount. Additionally, the company has faced regulatory roadblocks in Africa. The South African government, for instance, has banned the import, sale, and usage of the service. Similarly, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Senegal have also expressed their concerns and warned against the service.
Despite these challenges, some African countries like Rwanda have embraced Starlink for educational purposes. The country’s ICT Minister announced the launch of Starlink in 50 schools, aiming to provide students with access to more learning opportunities on the internet. This number is expected to increase to 500 by the end of 2024.
To address the affordability problem and expand its distribution, Starlink has partnered with Jumia. As one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in Nigeria with over 3.1 million active quarterly users, Jumia will exclusively distribute Starlink in Africa. This partnership allows Starlink to leverage Jumia’s experience in navigating the African retail and merchandise landscape. The company plans to start selling through Jumia’s sites and agents in Nigeria, followed by Kenya.
Currently, Starlink is licensed to operate in Nigeria, Mauritius, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and Kenya. It aims to roll out its services in more African countries before the end of the year.