Nigeria’s satellite Internet space is evolving rapidly, and while SpaceX’s Starlink has been making waves, Eutelsat’s Konnect , in partnership with Internet service provider, Coollink, has been quietly revolutionizing the Nigerian market.
If you’ve ever tuned in to watch Big Brother or the UEFAchampions league on MultiChoice’s DStv, you’ve likely used Eutelsat’s satellite service. But the European behemoth has ambitions beyond broadcasting; it’s challenging Starlink in ways that could redefine the satellite internet landscape in Africa.
For context, 864 million of Africans are still unconnected to the Internet. The divide between rural – urban connectivity is growing wider, and the continent features a median Internet speed of 31 Mbps. The challenge on ground is humongous, but the Konnect service seems up to the task.
“We aim to connect 1 million unconnected in sub-Saharan Africa within the next 3-4 years. Nigeria is pivotal to this considering the number of unconnected people and the impact of connectivity on economic growth.” says Modupe Okeowo, Country Manager for Konnect, Nigeria.
Konnect, launched in 2020, offers speeds of up to 100 Mbps for its users. With unlimited data plans as low as N7,900 and device costs starting from N45,000, it has taken a segmented approach to cater to different users, from SMEs and homes to hospitals and businesses.
As such, the company is able to offer quality Internet service to customers of all needs and budgets. While there are speed limits across the different plans, users can still enjoy full speeds between 10pm and 7am for big downloads and updates.
The use of segmented pricing and innovative speed limits has allowed Konnect and its partner, Coollink, to navigate the challenges of low purchasing power and high capital costs in Nigeria. Compared to Starlink whose pricing starts at ₦30,000, Konnect seems to better understand the local market.
An important point considering the scale of Konnect’s ambition: to connect 1 million unconnected individuals in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Nigeria being pivotal to this plan. If price is not an issue, it would come down to preference.
The Konnect satellite is geostationary, compared to Starlink’sLow Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellites. Not to bore you, just know that Konnect is farther from the Earth, and covers a wide area that lets you access the service wherever you live in Nigeria.
Starlink satellites are closer to the Earth and have reduced coverage, but it makes up for this with better latency and speed compared to geostationary satellites.
While Konnect has wider coverage, it’s already looking to gain the best of both worlds.
The company plans to add more capacity over Nigeria within Q2 2024 and launch its LEO services over Nigeria in Q4 2023, further addressing the demand for connectivity.
In addition, Eutelsat are working closely with OneWeb to prepare a proposed merger for later this year. OneWeb boasts a constellation of 648 low earth orbiting satellites and will put Konnect even further ahead of competitors. The merger will allow Konnect to offer higher speeds and more affordable latencies, making them a formidable player in the satellite internet market.
So, as Starlink enters the scene, remember the silent force, Konnect, that’s been here all along, reshaping Nigeria’s satellite internet landscape. If you’re interested in finding out more you can visit their website here, or call 0908 799 58 21