The perceptions of Elon Musk about “SpaceX’s low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband project Starlink” aims to connect difficult-to-reach and isolated locations worldwide, in addition to terrestrial fiber and 5G. He has further provided an update on the service of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband during the Mobile World Congress, a keynote speech that has been taking place in Barcelona, Spain. He noted several noteworthy ambitions, including a Starlink with mobile operators’ role, and the service as “accommodating the gaps between fiber and 5G”, and within the remote locations depicting Starlink to act as a backhaul opportunity for mobile operators.

Facts About Satellites of SpaceX’s Starlink:

Since SpaceX’s Starlink satellites are placed in low-Earth orbit (LEO) at a height of 550 km, which is more than 65 times closer than typical operators of the satellite, it aims to provide its end users with much faster transmission speeds and lower latency.

According to the reports presented by Musk, SpaceX has currently operates in 12 nations and launched 1,500+ Starlink satellites. The LEO satellites’ constellation has a total data transmission capacity of approximately 30 Tbps. In a year, he expects that the active customer base of the service, which is currently about 70K will increase to approximately somewhere between close to 500K and several hundred thousand.

As it focuses on medium-density and sparsely populated areas, Musk speculated that the low-earth orbit satellite broadband service’s investment may eventually reach $20 billion to $30 billion.

Initiation of Starlink’s Satellite Network in KDDI:

The Japanese telecom, KDDI has announced to the deployment of Starlink’s satellite network as a significant network backhauling services provider sometime in 2022 to enhance the mobile connectivity experience of its rural mobile users.

As a network backhaul provider, 1200 remote mobile towers of KDDI will receive low-latency and high-speed, satellite broadband internet services.

The urban towers of KDDI that uses fiber for backhaul can be complemented by using Starlink to backhaul service from remote locations.

The next step is to carry out several network demonstrations and technology-initiative tests to “assess its quality and performance,” according to KDDI if the service is to be made available.

A compliment to 5G and Fiber:

Musk said that “It’s a nice complement to fiber and 5G”, and for telco firms, the service might be a practical solution to backhaul data at cost-effective perspectives. Furthermore, the goal of achieving latency below 20 milliseconds will be ensured as he pointed out that Starlink offers latency comparable to 5G and fiber. However, the speed and accuracy of 5G will likely be twenty times faster than that of 4G LTE.

Starlink, Elon Musk’s innovative business intends to deploy 42,000 satellites to initiate a complete grid in the Earth’s lower orbital to provide internet connectivity to everyone on Earth by covering the entire planet with a constellation of satellites and thus pleasing the unquenchable desire for bandwidth.

Starlink Mobile Backhaul Opportunity:

Musk offered a concept for operating SpaceX’s Starlink as a backhaul for mobile operators from remote areas, in addition to the company’s main business processes of providing broadband connectivity to markets of lower density around the world and the nations.

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, has earlier discussed his company’s satellites’ possibilities for backhaul, although has made many public declarations about winning and securing business from telecom operators just like KDDI.

Musk said that “We can’t talk about those deals today because our partners are about ready to announce them and I think it can be quite useful to a lot of telcos for data backhaul. If you have cellular stations in remote regions, just using Starlink for data backhaul to their network can be a very cost-effective way of doing data backhaul.”

According to his perceptions, the company is aiming to create terminals of next-generation that offer approximately far less expensive and almost the same functionality. Musk mentioned that there will be upcoming agreements in which Starlink will work in integration with the mobile operators to help bring 5G to the concerned areas while erecting 5G towers in remote locations with backhaul provided by Starlink and by enabling mobile operators. But he has never announced the operational meetings with those alliances, although it would be a latent boost for 5G rural mobile.

Users typically spend $100 per month for service in addition to $500 or more for a terminal and the CEO desires to reduce that cost to $250 or $300 by developing the terminals for self-installs.

Musk said, “Obviously selling terminals at half price is not super compelling at scale”. He said this because the costs of the terminal will be $1,000+.

He provided the estimation of prospective investment maybe in the $20-30 billion range or after reaching a positive cash flow of “a lot basically”.

As an investment plan, $65 billion is being debated to provide global internet coverage, one has to wonder how the Starlink team and Musk perceive the surrounding broadband infrastructure. Through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund initiative, SpaceX has previously tentatively secured approximately $1 billion. However, will a predicted plan for the broadband infrastructure increase its revenue?

Well, it all depends upon their efforts and strengths toward achieving the desired outcomes.


Starlink won’t endanger the telecommunications industry. To be quite clear, it is not. Alternatively, serving people that are not easily accessible to fiber, 5G, backhaul, or copper, would be advantageous to the telecommunications industry, according to Musk. A few pros of the technology are:

  • Enhance the mobile connectivity experience.
  • Remote areas reachability access.
  • Provide real-world performance.
  • Easy to deploy and install user kit or terminal.


Though, the technological initiative does have significant shortcomings, which would make it problematic for them to sustain themselves in the long run. First of all, most of the rural communities would not be capable to afford Starlink as a backhaul/fiber due to the cost of maintaining, installing, and manufacturing the satellites. Likewise, there are also existed several concerns regarding the orbital satellites’ quality and quantity and the number of rooms left for new satellites if every rural area in the globe were to be serviced. Additionally, the technology is quite luxurious as compared to the other services of broadband and obstructions can often cause intermittent downlink or uplink failure.

The bottom Line:

Conclusively, Musk stated that he is “very enthused about the future” and added that, despite his caution, things are “looking rather right.” Although the technological initiative has few drawbacks, the promising advantages and capabilities of the company will be efficient enough to provide high-speed broadband internet access, enhanced mobile connectivity experience, much faster transmission speeds, and lower latency.

-Brian Martin

Global Communication Services, LLC

GCS Out!