Subscribers back Starlink as telcos optimize operational efficiency

By Oghale Mafuru

The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) sector is poised for a major and far-reaching disruption following the licensing of Elon Musk’s Starlink by the National Communications Commission, NCC, as internet service provider. The development has left internet subscribers thrilled by the promised seamless speed and accessibility; the twin problems that has continued to trail the ISPs operating in the country.

While this further intensifies competitiveness in the telecommunication sector, leading telcos like MTN and Airtel have embraced the 5th Generation, 5G, network to improve their services, although it has not been fully operationalized in the country.

Speaking to MARKETING EDGE, subscribers who decried the slow internet connectivity of major telcos in Nigeria, expressed optimism that Starlink will herald a dynamic shift in the sector as it will force existing players to improve on their operations.

“Telcos here are failing grossly on 4G. 5G right now would be the same, because I’m not sure they have great infrastructure in place to power it. Also, most of the audience is still living in the 3G/4G era with low-end smartphones. 5G would be for only the rich and informed. Nigeria telcos are playing a mass-market game, not really premium” Ademola Adekunbi, Brand, Product & Adtech Consultant said.

According to him, Starlink as a premium service is not a threat to telcos as they operate in different market segments.

Commenting on the competitive advantage of Starlink which is its ability to deliver 150Mbps internet speeds to any place on the planet with over 3,000 satellites through SpaceX Ladi Ogunseye, a digital marketer stated that although 5G network is currently been explored by major telecom companies, it is limited by location as they contend with bandwidth problems.

In terms of the impact on the sector, she believes that this will be in the long-term. “As at the moment, some would argue with you that other providers can produce the speed Starlink produces based on location. An acquaintance actually tested this and interestingly it was positive, unfortunately it is dependent on location and not generic for users down and key in improving quality of service because they know that competition is global. They will actually work on improving service”, she said.

MTN claims to have deployed the 5G technology already. With players like Airtel picking up their 5G license, and other players as well picking up theirs, it definitely would set the tone for faster internet from Telcos as well as ISPs in the country. In terms of competition with Starlink, these Telcos and ISPs already have an established customer base and it may take beyond speed tests for Starlink to snatch them from the ISPs/Telcos” he said.

For Chibuike Goodnew, Co-founder/ CEO of Dochase Adx, Elon musk’s Starlink as a satellite system provides a reliable access to internet services which is not confronted with the series of challenges bedeviling the sector.

He said: “Starlink is Elon Musk’s internet service depends on satellites to provide internet to the world. It is more like having satellites that revolve around the orbits and then beaming internet service down to the earth. It also means that those who use the internet service instead of depending on mast, will have gadgets that beams to satellites up in the sky. This provides high speed internet.

“Therefore, the problems of power failure, vandalism, and insecurities that existing providers contend with will not be affecting Starlink because you just need to beam your dish to the sky to have access to the internet”.

Speaking enthusiastically, Ized Uanikhehi, Founder, Zedi Africa said”: My favorite part of it is the fact that it can take up to 128 devices which means we can use it at the office very effectively. We literally just ordered ours but they don’t ship to Nigeria so I gave them my address in the US. I will be traveling next month and I will bring it down.

She expressed hopes that though the installation cost is high, it will reduce operational cost for organisations and encourage improved service delivery in the telecommunications sector.

“It will help bring down prices. We are already paying so much for generating electricity using PHCN or paying for diesel, fuel for the generator. It will be important to get something at a reduced rate. Although the device itself cost about 600 dollars, subsequent payment is next to nothing. In the long term, it will actually come off cheaper than what we currently are paying for MTN.

In terms of impact on the telecom sector, she believes that competition will be key in driving prices.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.