Elon Musk says SpaceX is losing money on its Starlink terminals but has found a way to cut costs with updated versions

Musk   Photo by Hannibal Hanschke Pool:Getty Images
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Hannibal Hanschke Pool / Getty Images
  • Elon Musk said Starlink will build new satellite terminals that can help the company save money.
  • Terminals currently cost $1,000 for each, he said. They’re sold to customers for $500.
  • The new terminals will have the “same level of capability,” Musk said.
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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the company’s Starlink internet service is working to build new internet terminals that will cost less money to build.

During a virtual interview at the Mobile World Conference on Tuesday, Musk said the SpaceX subsidiary is losing money on the current terminals, which cost $1,000 to make but are sold to customers around the world for $500, plus a $99 monthly subscription.

Musk said new versions of the units will cost less than $1,000 for the company to build.

“We are working on next-generation terminals that provide the same level of capability but costs a lot less,” Musk said in the conference. “So that’s one area of development for us.”

He said during the event that he’d like to eventually reduce the cost for customers from $500 to $300 or $250. Musk also noted that customers don’t need professional installers for the units. All you have to do is “point it at the sky and plug it in,” and not necessarily in that order.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Starlink sends broadband internet service down to customers from satellites and first launched in October 2020. It now has 69,420 active users, a “strategically important threshold,” Musk said last week.

Starlink has customers in at least six countries and plans to establish 42,000 satellites in orbit for use by 2027. Musk’s goal has been to create an ultra-fast system that can provide internet to everyone, especially those living in rural areas or higher latitudes that have poor connections.

SpaceX won $885 million last year in federal subsidies to build out Starlink even further, but some local internet service providers cautioned the US Federal Communications Commission against the funds since Musk’s company is using “unproven” technology.