The partnership between Philippine telco Converge ICT and Elon Musk’s SpaceX is close to becoming official.
As per Converge ICT’s Dennis Anthony H. Uy, they have reached an agreement to lease fiber lines and other ground support equipment to SpaceX. The latter’s Starlink service launched tons of low-orbit broadband satellites last year that can provide high-speed internet connection in almost all far-flung and remote areas across the globe.
The said Starlink internet service was supposed to be available in the Philippines this year, but the latest development reveals that it’s been moved to next year, 2023.
During an event organized by the Rotary Club of Makati, Uy said: “We leased our infrastructure to them and some earth stations,”
“In fact, in one of the [sites], the backbone and capacity, we are the ones providing it,” the Converge ICT head added.
No word yet if there is more to the Converge ICT-SpaceX agreement after the leasing agreement. However, Uy hinted that SpaceX has plans to eventually go on its own as it ventures into the Philippine market, especially now that the government is open to the idea of full foreign ownership.
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“I think the direction is they want to go on their own, they don’t want to have to partner with locals,” Uy added.
Despite that, it looks like Uy doesn’t see Starlink satellites as a major competitor to traditional fiber services as “Satellite is used for mobility, areas not reachable by infrastructure,”
Getting a Starlink connection to your house or mobile home doesn’t come cheap. The starter kit, which includes the dish satellite, already costs a whopping USD499 (around Php24,000). After that, the service itself will cost USD99 (around Php4,800) per month.
Businesses can opt for the Starlink Premium, which has an upfront cost of USD2,500 (around Php127,600) and monthly of USD500 (around Php25,500) per month.