Starlink, three days after launching in Georgia (the country), is now also available in Benin.
Georgia marks the 65th country that Starlink is licensed to operate. In 2023 alone, it has expanded into 20 countries.
Benin represents the 7th African country that Starlink is licensed to operate in.
All of them, including Nigeria, Mozambique, Rwanda, and the ones mentioned above, were launched in 2023.
In the interim, Starlink also managed to grow to over 2 million customers and got rid of the waitlist requirements for its Residential tier in the US.
As a result, the business has now become cashflow positive according to the main man himself.
SpaceX and Musk do eventually plan to spin out the entity and take it public, so having recurring revenue from millions of subscribers is key in telling its story to investors.
That said, new markets, including Benin, will likely operate at a loss for some time.
For example, Starlink incentivizes adoption by partnering with local schools and other government entities in an effort to drive adoption.
Getting back to Benin, the Residential package, Starlink’s most commonly adopted plan, costs CFA 33,125 (~ USD 54,25) per month.
CFA 3,125 of that is attributed to regulatory fees, which are imposed by the
L’Autorité de Régulation des Communications Electroniques et de la Poste du Bénin (ARCEP BENIN).
Furthermore, CFA 415,000 (~ USD 679) need to be paid for the hardware as well as shipment and handling.
The monthly fee hovers around the higher end of what Starlink charges in Africa, with most countries being in the USD 40 / month range.
With a GDP per capita of around USD 4,000 and a population of around 13 million people (albeit a very fast growing one), the overall addressable market is certainly limited.
On the other side, most of its citizen (around 85%) are accessing the internet via their mobile phones.
Only around 25,000 people, according to data from ARCEP, have a fixed broadband connection, thus leaving plenty of room for Starlink to tap into.