SpaceX’s Starlink to Expand to South East Asia

Elon Musks’ SpaceX Foundation has eyes on expanding to new regions – Provide satellite-based internet service in Southeast Asia

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is among the many companies competing to provide satellite-based internet service in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia is a vast developing region with more than 400 million internet users and a booming digital economy. The internet penetration rate in Southeast Asia is as high as over 70 percent in all countries except for Laos, Myanmar, and Timor-Leste.

Internet penetration in Southeast Asia as of June 2021, by country / statista

Opportunities are constantly developing in other parts of Southeast Asia, and SpaceX is poised to move in. The plan is to expand its influence over Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar by the beginning of next year.

Starlink is projected to offer download speeds of 100 to 200 megabits per second, much faster than typical internet service in the region. The most recent tabulated internet speed as of April in the region for few selected countries are:

  • Singapore: 65mbps
  • Thailand: 17.9mbps
  • Vietnam: 13.7mbps
  • Cambodia: 5.7mbps
  • Malaysia: 5.4mbps

Initial Cost Projection

When it comes to the matter of cost, Starlink offers plans priced at $110 or $500 a month, but some mobile internet plans in the Philippines cost 300 pesos ($5.67) or less for 24 gigabytes of data over 30 days.

With these exorbitant prices, it is unsurprising that it will not be accessible to a vast majority of civilians especially factoring the low average household income. However, companies in remote locations as well as government agencies, the military and the media will be potential customers for Starlink upon initial deployment.

Overtime, with more competition from other foreign companies in the region, it is expected that the price will come down to a commercial level once the infrastructure has been stratified.

In relevant news, Elon Musk’s SpaceX told the Federal Communications Commission in a presentation last week that its Starlink satellite internet service now has over 400,000 subscribers around the world.

In recent years, SpaceX has launched about 2,500 Starlink satellites to support its global network

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