Elon Musk’s Starlink is Now Available in the Philippines

Starlink is now officially available in the Philippines, making it the first Southeast Asian country to receive the satellite-based internet service. Here’s what we know about it so far. 

For years, Filipinos have been struggling with internet connectivity. In 2014, the Philippines was recorded to only have 3.6 Mbps average internet speed! Even in 2023, the country ranked 82nd out of 138 countries in average mobile internet speed with 24.59 Mbps, according to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index.

Though the entry of new internet providers has helped give consumers options, the country has a long way to go to make the internet accessible to all Filipinos—even those in remote areas. With working from home becoming mainstream in the country and the rise of the freelance industry, the internet has become not only a privilege but a need. 

Last 2022, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) accredited Starlink to be an officially licensed satellite internet provider. The Starlink owner, Elon Musk, himself tweeted that PH has already approved its presence in the country. 

“The DICT will continue to find ways to make the accreditation process faster, and more convenient, and will provide policy support to companies like Starlink. I urge you to intensify your corporate presence in the country,” DICT Acting Secretary Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic said in a press release

And with that, SpaceX, Starlink’s mother company, officially announced that the satellite internet service is now live in the Philippines. 

A new player in town: SpaceX officially announced that it has come to the Philippines

With over 2.8 million tweet views and 2000 plus retweets, people are seemingly receiving the announcement well. 

A Twitter user expressing excitement to have better internet
in remote areas.

The Starlink Promise

“Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency service is made possible via the world’s largest constellation of highly advanced satellites operating in a low orbit around the Earth,” said the satellite internet provider. With over 200 Mbps, Starlink promises to provide a fast internet connection that can reach even the remotest areas in any part of the world. 

The satellite internet provider is able to do this through their technology called Low Earth Orbit or LEO. Normally, an internet provider gets its data from a single satellite that orbits the Earth at 35, 786 kilometers. With this expansive distance between the user and the satellite, the data’s travel time also extends, making the connection slow. 

To remedy this, Starlink used LEO and its constellation of satellites to shorten the travel time of the data—making the internet connection faster than most internet providers. 

Can Filipinos Afford This?

Starlink’s arrival in the Philippines and what it can do to improve the nationwide internet connection seem promising. However, just hours after the announcement, people are already criticizing the satellite internet provider. 

To avail of Starlink’s service, the user must pay PHP 29,320 (around USD 530) upfront for hardware only. Additionally, there is a monthly subscription for PHP 2700 (around USD 48). The prices, especially for the hardware alone, are quite exorbitant for a middle-class Filipino. 

To compare, local internet service providers (ISP) only charge PHP 1,500 (around USD 27) for the modem, which can be staggered over several months. Moreover, plans with 200 Mbps have a starting cost of PHP 1699 (around USD 30). 

Nevertheless, Starlink’s arrival to the Philippines is good because Filipinos now have more options for internet connection. With multiple competitors in the internet industry, ISPs can improve their services to vie for more consumers. But hopefully, the new player, Starlink can not only provide better connectivity but also adjust its price point for the Filipino market.