Starlink is coming out of its beta phase next month, as confirmed by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Twitter. With this milestone expected to be reached soon, Starlink could very well be on its way towards becoming a potential disruptor in the internet service provider segment.
In a way, Musk’s comments on Twitter are quite accurate. Earlier this year, after all, the SpaceX CEO stated that Starlink would likely come out of its beta phase in summer 2021. If Musk’s recent comments prove accurate, Starlink will be coming out of its beta stage in early fall 2021 instead.
Starlink’s ongoing beta program has expanded significantly over the past months. So far, the satellite internet system is providing high-speed internet access to over 100,000 customers across 14 countries. As per Musk’s previous comments, Starlink is expected to reach worldwide coverage later this year.
While Starlink is still in its early stages, the high-speed satellite internet system is seeing a lot of progress as of late. During the 2021 SATELLITE conference earlier this month, for example, SpaceX chief financial officer Bret Johnson stated that SpaceX is already producing 5,000 Starlink dishes every week. That’s an annual production capacity of about 250,000 terminals per year.
This ramp in Starlink’s dish production would be extremely valuable for SpaceX as the service comes out of its beta stage. This is especially true as SpaceX continues to reduce the costs associated with the production of its Starlink dishes. Johnson noted that next-gen Starlink kits would simultaneously halve production costs and increase manufacturing throughput. These milestones are expected to be reached as early as Q4 2021.
Starlink is one of Elon Musk’s projects that is quite understated but still potentially disruptive. If SpaceX could improve the production rate of its Starlink terminals to an annual rate of 1 million kits per year, and if the private space firm keeps pace with its satellite launches, then the company could see $500 million in dish sales and an additional $100 million in monthly recurring revenue every year. This should help the costly venture become self-sustaining in the coming years.