Just two years after the limited beta release, SpaceX and its Starlink satellite internet service have accrued more than one million active subscribers. Since November 19, SpaceX has successfully launched more than 3,600 Starlink satellites.
More than 3000 SpaceX satellites are already operational and serving customers from around the globe. Unlike its main competitor, Hughes Network, which has over 1.3 million subscribers in the Americas, Starlink has a far greater international customer base.
The number of subscribers has been growing steadily since March 2022, when Starlink had 250,000 subscribers. In June 2022, Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, reported during an all-hands meeting that SpaceX’s Starlink internet had almost 500,000 users.
Starlink maintained this growth trend and accumulated 250,000 new subscribers per quarter, which translates to about 2,600-2,700 new subscribers per day since June this year. Most subscribers are in Canada, Poland, Australia, and Ukraine, with only half being from the U.S.
On a grand scale of things, that may not seem like much. Established internet providers boast far more subscribers than that. However, it’s crucial to remember that, in the world of satellite broadband internet, this growth rate is incredible. It’s comparable to decades of growth that satellite internet companies experienced, not to mention that other providers are currently losing subscribers, rather than gaining new ones.
From Musk’s report and broader trends at SpaceX, growth will likely retain its pace over the coming years. He claims that the current flotilla of Starlink satellites is enough to sustain several million subscribers before it begins to struggle with congestion.
Starlink satellites also aren’t location-bound like regular large geostationary satellites, which operate at a much higher altitude, hence Starlink’s unique position to conquer the global satellite market far more efficiently than its competitors. In reality, each individual country’s “painful market entrance process for a new communications provider” is slowing down the expansion of Starlink as a service provider.
The price of the service varies from country to country. Regardless of the local pricing structure, the network is likely raking in more than a billion dollars per year.
“The cost of a subscription varies widely from country to country but Cloudflare indicates that the vast majority of subscribers live in countries where it costs around $100-110 per month and around $600 for a subsidized dish,” according to Teslarati. “Even accounting for SpaceX footing some of the bill for Starlink service in Ukraine, the network is almost certainly already generating more than a billion dollars of revenue per year.”