Starlink terminal costs coming down
September 15, 2023
By Chris Forrester
SpaceX says that its early antennas for its Starlink service were costing around $3,000 (€2,813) per unit. Those costs have steadily come down in place over the past two years.
By early 2021 the cost-per-unit for the highly-complex antennas had fallen to about $1,300 per terminal. Now, the terminals cost less to make than the $599 equipment fee that Starlink customers pay for the terminals.
Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX VP/Starlink and commercial sales, said during a panel at the World Satellite Business Week conference that SpaceX is no longer absorbing the cost of the Starlink antennas it sells with its satellite internet service.
“We were subsidising terminals, but we’ve been iterating on our terminal production so much that we’re no longer subsidising terminals, which is a good place to be,” said Hofeller.
SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell, speaking earlier this year, said that Starlink “had a cash flow positive quarter” in 2022. The overall company reportedly turned a profit in Q1 2023.
Recent published data says that SpaceX’s revenues, including Starlink sales and subscriptions, was $1.4 billion in 2022 (and up from $222 million in 2021).
Over the past year SpaceX has aggressively priced its equipment in some markets at ultra-low fees. For example, new Canadian subscribers can now obtain a Starlink terminal for just C$199. Similar fees are being levied in New Zealand and Australia (at about the equivalent of $130).
The UK, however, is still being priced at premium levels. The current offer from Starlink in the UK calls for a one time hardware fee of £449. This is similar to Germany (€449).