The Philippines regulator the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) late last week announced its approval of the registration of Starlink Internet Services Philippines Inc. as a value-added service (VAS) provider, according to local press reports.
Starlink's VAS registration in the Philippines allows the company to directly access satellite systems, and to build and operate broadband facilities to offer internet services.
Starlink, the satellite internet division of Elon Musk-owned provider of space transportation services SpaceX, has also won approval to operate in Nigeria and Mozambique.
Starlink now operates across all continents, and has obtained licenses to provide internet services in more than 30 countries.
The situation in what is probably its biggest target market, India, remains unclear. In June last year, Musk claimed that Starlink would span the globe, including India, within months. Starlink registered its business in India via a local unit, Starlink Satellite Communications and targeted an April 2022 rollout.
However, as regular readers will remember, Starlink was forced to stopped pre-booking in India after the Indian Department of Telecommunications (DoT) advised people against subscribing to Starlink Internet Services, saying that it did not have a license to operate in the country.
Starlink had announced that it would apply for a commercial licence in India by 31 January, though this does not seem to have happened.
In Nigeria, by contrast, according to a report from regulator NCC, Starlink has received two licenses: an international gateway license, valid for ten years, and an internet service provider (ISP) license, valid for five years. Both licenses are effective from this month. The company will be trading as Starlink Internet Services Nigeria Ltd.
Using advanced satellites in low orbit, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency broadband internet, enabling video calls, online gaming, streaming, and other high data rate activities.
These three licenses are clearly good news for Starlink, though there are still question marks over the business model and, in particular, the affordability of the company’s services for the many low-income would-be end users in remote areas who could benefit from the service.