Bad news for Starlink pre-orders in South Africa

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The launch of SpaceX’s Starlink Internet service in South Africa has been delayed by a year for new customers.

When the service’s pre-order website went live for South Africans in February 2021, it showed the company was targeting coverage in the country during 2022. That remained the case until at least Monday.

The same page now states Starlink expects to expand service to South Africa in 2023.

MyBroadband input various South African addresses, which previously showed 2022 as the expected arrival date, and all of them had been updated to 2023.

The images below show the previous and updated Starlink pre-order pages.

Starlink Pofadder

PCMag has reported estimated coverage dates in specific locations in the US have also been pushed back.

The publication said Reddit users looking to try out the service noticed their estimated availability dates had changed from “late 2021 to early 2022” to “late 2022 to early 2023”.

There seems to be good news for those who have already placed their pre-orders, with these users reporting no change in the expected availability date.

MyBroadband forum members who had secured pre-orders confirmed that their dates had remained the same, with arrival still slated for 2022.

That suggests the company might have reached a certain number of customers in specific areas it will be able to serve by the earlier launch date, while new pre-orders will have to wait until the Starlink network’s capacity expands.

MyBroadband asked SpaceX for comment on the reason behind the delay, but we did not receive feedback on our queries.

Starlink antenna new headline

Starlink uses a constellation of low-earth-orbit satellites to beam Internet to users on the ground with a cutting-edge satellite dish.

The service is currently live for beta testing in several locations, including parts of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Germany.

SpaceX had already shipped 100,000 Starlink terminals to customers in those areas by August.

The service costs $99 (R1,517, excl. VAT) per month, not including the $499 (R7,646) once-off fee for the client terminal, consisting of a satellite dish, router, Ethernet cable, and mounting equipment.

The deposit to pre-order Starlink costs $99. That fee will cover part of the payment of the client terminal.

According to the latest data collected by StarlinkStatus.space, users are measuring an average of 133.8Mbps download speeds and 19.24Mbps for uploads, with a ping of around 46ms.

One recorded an impressive peak download speed of 370.88Mbps.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently announced that Starlink would exit its beta at the end of October 2021.

Musk has claimed the service will be capable of 1Gbps download speeds once a sufficient number of satellites have been launched into orbit.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

1,740 Starlink satellites have been launched into orbit in less than two years.

SpaceX plans to have almost 30,000 satellites providing Internet coverage by the end of the second phase of its programme.

In September, it launched 51 laser-equipped satellites that can send data between each other, allowing them to provide Internet service in locations that don’t have a ground station.

These laser links could theoretically also reduce latency in cases where communication needs to be carried to another country, and the terrestrial fibre cable route would take longer.


Now read: Elon Musk says Starlink could be installed on airlines

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