There was a bit of excitement in Zimbabwe’s tech circles when it was revealed that Starlink was taking pre-orders in Zimbabwe. The Elon Musk owned internet service has shown great promise in North America where it is currently being trialled. The internet service provides fast uncapped internet with speeds over 100 Mbps for just US$99 per month.
For those who are not technically inclined, think of Starlink as being like ZOL, TelOne or Utande. You go to them and pay them so that they can give you equipment which you can then use to access the internet. There are two costs involved in the process:
- The cost of the equipment also known as Customer Premises Equipment or CPE. Currently Starlink is charging US$499.00 for this. Think of CPE as things such as the modem your internet provider installs in your house and the antenna attached to your house if you are using wireless.
- Then there is the monthly cost for Starlink this is US$99 per month.
So for your first month you will have to pay about US$600 for Starlink which includes the cost of the equipment plus internet services for the first month. Like all other providers this is just the base costs. Starlink allows you to addons but these are not required and so we will ignore them. The feeling by a lot of Zimbabweans was that this internet would be dead on arrival as it includes a steep initial cost.
$US600 upfront is indeed steep there is no getting around that part. The truth though is that it’s about the same price that companies like TelOne and Utande are charging for initial VSAT installation. They do offer rentals though which makes the initial costs cheaper. However, these companies offer traditional VSAT which is different from what Starlink is selling. Their packages tend to be capped or slow which makes them useless for schools and businesses in remote areas.
This is where Starlink shines their speeds are simply amazing and will easily thrash even the fibre packages that local ISPs are offering. In fact, the attraction of Starlink lies in its relatively low monthly cost compared to the speed they offer. By the third month, you would not only have recouped your expenses you will be paying less for more.
Let us say you are currently a ZOL home customer on ZOL’s 100Mbps per month fibre package.Costs US$339 per month. In 3 months you would have paid US$339×3 i.e. US$1 017. In comparison if you switch over to Starlink you would have paid US$499+(99×3) i.e US$796 and that’s a massive US$221 in month three alone. The more you use Starlink the more savings you make plus there are other positives such as the fact that when you want to leave a certain area you can just up and leave. No need to dig trenches at your new location.