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Bank: Starlink worth $81bn

December 6, 2021

Investment bank Morgan Stanley says that its base case valuation for Elon Musk’s Starlink broadband-by-satellite low Earth orbiting constellation stands at $81 billion (€71.8bn).

It backs up its thinking with assumptions of a longer-term 2040 position when the system can offer some 250 Gb/s per satellite of capacity of which 4.5 per cent is “saleable” and has a potential subscriber base of 364 million.

Morgan Stanley extrapolates revenues to an assumed $21 per month per subscriber (compared to around $25 per month/per sub today) which the bank suggests a revenue of 8.4 cents per GB.

The bank also assumes that the constellation is fully deployed by 2032 and comprises 42,000 satellite in orbit. It also assumes that Musk’s giant Starship is by then well able to handle 400 Starlinks per launch (compared to around 50-60 per launch on a Falcon 9 today).

Morgan Stanley says that by 2024 the cost of the send-receive consumer terminal would also fall to be about $100 per unit by 2040.

The bank suggests that the cost-per-launch for Musk’s rockets will not be quite as low as Musk has himself has suggested (Falcon 9 at about $1 million per launch, a Starship launch of about $2 million) and instead says it has used $5 million for a Falcon 9 launch and $10 million for the larger Starships and on a “full re-use basis”.

However, good as the $81 billion valuation is, it may not be enough. A recent report from CNBC and based on a cash-raising exercise from Musk when SpaceX sold shares at $560 per share pushed the company’s valuation to $100.3 billion.

“SpaceX’s new valuation makes it one of the rare private ‘centicorn’ or ‘hectocorn’ companies in the world — a $1 billion unicorn 100 times over,” CNBC’s Michael Sheetz wrote in the report. “SpaceX is now the second-most valuable private company in the world, according to CB Insights, behind only China’s Bytedance and jumping past fintech [financial technology] firm Stripe.”

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