As of September 23, Starlink has officially achieved the milestone of 2 million subscribers. This Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation provides broadband internet service to over 60 countries across all seven continents. That’s an addition of 500,000 subscribers since May 2023.
Starlink was established in 2015 as a subsidiary of prominent aerospace manufacturer and space transportation enterprise SpaceX. The project started in 2019 by launching satellites into Earth’s orbit, leveraging numerous government subsidies and supported by solid financial backing from Elon Musk. According to the latest reports, the orbital constellation of Starlink has almost 5,000 satellites.
Starlink’s business model is about facilitating global internet connectivity through its network of satellites. The company promises to deliver fast, reliable broadband internet service in areas that previously had limited or no internet access. In its earlier days, Starlink’s only source of revenue was selling receiver equipment to internet users. However, the company has expanded its service capabilities and offers internet access support on land and water.
Starlink covers most of South America, North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as specific areas in Africa and Asia. According to the Starlink website, the company’s service is also available in remote areas in California, Brazil, Antarctica, and the Cherokee Nation. Costa Rica was added recently. Starlink has also applied for a license to operate in Turkey.
The company plans to provide service to a significant portion of Africa, the Middle East and western Asia, as well as parts of South America and the Caribbean in the coming year.
According to Space News, Starlink signed a deal with SES S.A., a satellite telecommunications network provider based in Luxembourg. Per this deal, SES will deliver Starlink service to the cruise market, bundled with its own services.
CNBC reported that, while attending the World Satellite Business Week, Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales Jonathan Hofeller said SpaceX has now stopped offering subsidies to its customers for the cost of their user terminal.
Another critical update is the opening of Starlink’s first community gateway on Alaska’s remote island of Unalaska, offering up to 10 Gbps of connectivity.
Starlink’s pace of adding to the constellation continues, with the launch of a batch of satellites from Florida and from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base.
Why Invest in Starlink?
In an increasingly digital world, internet connectivity is a necessity rather than a luxury. However, many remote areas worldwide remain under-connected or unconnected, and this is where Starlink is looking to make a significant difference. If it manages to fulfill its promises, the company certainly has the potential to be an excellent investment option. Its rapid growth has already created a lot of interest among investors.
One reason is the company’s charismatic owner and CEO, Elon Musk. Although his association can be a polarizing factor, any of Musk’s business endeavors inevitably garner a great deal of attention. Also, SpaceX is a potent force in the thriving space industry with its series of launches.
Many potential investors are looking at Starlink because of its future prospects. At the time of its launch, the estimated addressable worth of the company was $6 billion. According to a 2022 estimate by Morgan Stanley, Starlink is already worth about $40 billion. No audited financial statements related to Starlink’s finances will be available until the company files a formal prospectus, but some information has been discussed publicly.
In a 2021 interview, SpaceX president and CEO Gwynne Shotwell said that the company’s total addressable market could be as high as $1 trillion. Shotwell has also mentioned that Starlink enjoyed a cash flow-positive quarter in 2022. According to a 2022 report published by space industry newsletter Payload Space, SpaceX generated about $1 billion in annual revenue from Starlink. A subscriber base of 2 million and average income of $110 per month indicates recurring payments of over $2.5 billion.
Even though these figures aren’t audited financials, the company has a sustained stream of revenue likely to grow as the subscriber base increases.
Ways To Invest in Starlink
It’s impossible to acquire Starlink stocks or shares in the mainstream market because it’s not a publicly traded company. Since the time of its inception, the financing received by the company has mostly been private. A formal announcement has not been made about Starlink’s Initial Public Offering (IPO), and it’s believed that the company prefers to remain privately financed for the time being. As a result of this strategy, the project can focus freely on its mission objectives and technological milestones without worrying about the scrutiny of public investors.
Even though Starlink shares are not available on the stock market right now, there are alternative methods to buy them. The best way to acquire Starlink shares is to buy them from employees or early investors who have received shares. Starlink shares can be purchased via online pre-IPO marketplaces such as EquityZen, Forge Global, SecFi, EquityBee, etc. However, the most conventional approach would be to wait for the IPO.
FIRE off the Grid
Apart from the investment perspective, Starlink also provides an excellent opportunity to individuals looking to achieve Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) off the grid. FIRE is an emerging lifestyle concept that involves saving sufficiently early in the career to become financially independent and retire early.
As the race for financial freedom intensifies, more and more people are exploring new avenues for a financially secure and stress-free retired life. Recent data suggests that compared to mainstream living, living off the grid can save up to 50% on the monthly expenses of a family. Also, there are many ways to earn income while living off the grid, such as starting an online business, farming, consulting, selling homemade products, etc.
By providing internet service worldwide, Starlink will soon make the internet accessible to individuals living on boats in remote areas and foreign countries. This will open up new opportunities for those who want to live a unique, off-the-beaten stealth wealth path for achieving FIRE. Starlink can also make better lives for the steadily growing population of digital nomads worldwide.