High subscription costs main factor in Starlink connectivity

Friday March 03 2023

The high cost of installation and monthly subscription for Starlink the Internet service provider linked to American billionaire, Elon Musk, is expected to be a key factor in connectivity to households.

Although the Internet-vended by SpaceX promises high speed, high subscription costs could lock out potential clients.

The installation kit alone, which includes a dish and a router costs Rwf651,000 for a one-time installation, while monthly subscription goes Rwf52,000, per subscriber.

“For a home package that is a lot of money, the Internet I have now at home is far lower than that, yet I still need a plan cheaper than the one I use, I can
maybe consider Starlink for my office,” said Joshua Asiimwe, an entrepreneur
in Kigali.

The competition Starlink is finding in the market includes the telecom market leader MTN Rwanda, whose pricing model ranges between Rwf20,000 per month for home Fiber coming with 15Mbps and Rwf 40,000 to get 50MBps internet speeds.

The other provider-that has gained a considerable market especially in Kigali since opening a few years ago, is CanalBox Internet, whose fiber to the home package goes for Rwf40,000 per month-giving the customer up to 200Mbps of download speeds and 50Mbps for upload speeds.


While the cheapest package costs Rwf25000, coming with 50Mbps for download and 10Mbps for uploads speeds, while their office package costs Rwf150000. While liquid telecom basic monthly package costs Rwf27,999, giving up to 60mbps downloads and 60mbps uploads, with free installation and free Wi-Fi modem and free liquid to liquid calls.

While it’s family entertainment package costs 69,999, coming with up to 150mbps downloads and 150mbps uploads, with free installation, unlimited usage, free Wi-Fi modem and free liquid to liquid calls.

Rwandan Internet consumers are very price sensitive, a factor which has for instance for years undermined wider consumption of 4G Internet-as vented by Korea Telecom, to the point that government had to suspend the 4G wholesale monopoly they have enjoyed for the last 10 years.

While launching the service, Minister for ICT and Innovation Paula Ingabire, said while the service seems to be expensive for single users, it can be a
cheaper option for institutional users.