Is Elon Musk’s Starlink Ready To Be Commercialised?

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  • Starlink is taking pre-orders in New Zealand and Germany for its internet satellite service.
  • Over 1,200 satellites are currently encircling the globe in low orbit. The Company is seeking approval to launch thousands of more satellites.
  • An IPO of Starlink is likely once the Company can be accurately valued.

Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and SpaceX, is ready to commercialise his new disruptive enterprise, Starlink.

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Starlink is an internet service provided by 1,200 satellite units circling the globe in low orbit.

Starlink is now available for pre-order in New Zealand and Germany after completing Beta testing in the US and the UK. Starlink expects to be operational in these countries by mid to late 2021.

  • In NZ, the cost of the service is NZ$159 per month. An additional NZ$913 fee is payable on signup, covering the hardware required to communicate with the satellites.
  • In Germany, the cost of the service is EU€99 per month. The fee for the Starlink hardware in Germany is EU€557.

The Beta-testing, the Company performed produced speeds between 50 Mbps and 150 Mbps. Mr Musk has intimated that the speed would improve to 300 Mbps when the service is fully operational next year.

60 Starlink Satellites Launched Yesterday

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Starlink has launched more than 1,200 satellites into low orbit since May 2019. Yesterday, the Company added another 60 satellites using a SpaceX Falcon rocket. So far this year, SpaceX has launched 310 satellite for Starlink.

Starlink has sought approval for tens of thousands of satellites to encircle the globe.

Starlink Going Public In the Next Couple Of Years

Mr Musk has claimed he plans to take Starlink public in the future. An IPO is likely once the Company can predict its cashflow with some certainty. This is necessary to determine the Company’s value. Analysts believe a public offering is at least a couple of years away.

Starlink Criticisms

Optical astronomers have noted Starlink's thousands of satellites' reflectivity as interfering with their view of space. Starlink has fitted its satellites with visors to reduce their reflectivity, among other mitigation tactics. However, Starlink's satellites can interfere with astronomers' work in adjacent fields such as radio astronomy that are seeking regulation protection from The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

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