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Hello SpaceX ? This is Starlink: we have a problem

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On paper, Starlink is the ultimate ISP: access is available virtually anywhere in the world, speeds range from 25 to 220 Mbps, all with low latency. Especially since the firm is working on direct connectivity to smartphones, which could well shake up the world of mobile telephone operators tomorrow.

The constellation of satellites in operation operated by SpaceX is impressive, far ahead of competing services, which are necessarily much less good in terms of throughput. More ambitious projects are under development, such as Kuiper, developed by Amazon. SpaceX, however, has several advantages, which can allow the company to always stay one step ahead.

Why Starlink's success is not not guaranteed

SpaceX's core business is launching satellites – while significantly reducing the price of launches via its reusable Falcon 9 rocket and soon the immense Starship. At the beginning of March, 4,794 of the firm's satellites were already operational. And according to the latest figures available (April 2024), the service already has 2,700,000 subscribers.

In such a context, Elon Musk's recent announcement that Starlink had reached financial balance was entirely credible. Except that according to a report published by Bloomberg, everything indicates that the entrepreneur played with the figures to hide a very different reality.

De facto, the report states that Starlink's accounting is heavily burdened by higher launch costs than announced, and deadweight losses equivalent to hundreds of dollars on each reception kit sent to customers.< /p>

The report also suggests that Starlink's accounts are not kept regularly. A way to maintain an attractive position with financiers, particularly in the event of fundraising.

Our colleagues from the Futurism blog quote experts, concerned about the enormous expense of the satellite internet access provider – while the increase in subscriber load has already started in 2022 to reduce speeds. Remedying the situation a priori means launching even more satellites.

To make matters worse, all the largest airlines in the United States are currently rejecting Starlink to improve the internet connection on their flights. Of course, there is still room to hope that profitability increases sufficiently over the years: according to Futurism, sales represented $4.7 billion in 2023, compared to $15 billion expected in 2024.

We also note that other companies have long spent lavishly to accelerate their expansion. This is particularly the case for Amazon, which took 14 years to reach balance and which let its debts slip away to finance itself. The latter represented 161.6 billion dollars in 2023 (source: Finbox).

  • While Elon Musk recently celebrated the achievement of financial balance for the Starlink service, a report published by Bloomberg describes a completely different reality – and suggests that the company's accounting is dubious to say the least.
  • The problem is that many launches remain necessary to support the charge of subscribers – the cost of the latter would be largely underestimated.
  • Not to mention the cost of the connection kits…

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116