SpaceX’s ambitious Starlink project has failed to meet Elon Musk’s initial projections for customer growth and revenue, raising questions about the viability of satellite internet in an increasingly competitive market.
The company had about 1.5 million customers worldwide at the end of 2022 against a projected 20 million subscribers, a 92.5% shortfall against the projection. Ars Technica reports that Elon Musk’s SpaceX and its Starlink internet services have not lived up to its own lofty expectations, missing its projected targets by a wide margin. In a 2015 presentation aimed at investors, SpaceX had projected that Starlink would boast 20 million subscribers and generate nearly $12 billion in revenue by the end of 2022.
These figures were part of the company’s ambitious plan to revolutionize the internet landscape. Elon Musk strikes a SpaceX pose (pool/Getty) However, according to a Wall Street Journal report, the actual numbers tell a different story. Starlink’s revenue for 2022 was reported to be $1.4 billion, a far cry from the projected $12 billion. Moreover, the company had just over 1.5 million customers worldwide, including consumer users and businesses, as opposed to the 20 million it had anticipated. “Starlink hasn’t signed up customers as quickly as SpaceX had hoped,” the Wall Street Journal noted.
The report also highlighted that the documents did not specify whether Starlink is currently profitable, leaving a cloud of uncertainty over the project’s financial health. SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell stated in February that Starlink is expected to turn a profit this year. However, without specific numbers, it’s hard to gauge the project’s actual profitability.
The company’s Q1 2023 numbers reportedly included a $55 million profit on $1.5 billion in revenue, but it remains unclear how much of this was attributed to Starlink. One of the significant challenges facing Starlink is its struggle to penetrate high-density areas like cities. “The majority of the world’s population that the business could serve and that can afford high-speed broadband lives in cities. In those regions, Internet service is readily available, usually offers cheaper monthly costs than Starlink and doesn’t require specialized equipment,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Despite these setbacks, SpaceX remains optimistic about Starlink’s future. Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX vice president of Starlink and commercial sales, stated that the goal is to “grow to hopefully millions and millions.” The company has also made strides in reducing costs, no longer selling Starlink user terminals at a loss, according to a CNBC article. Read more at Ars Technica here. Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan.
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