SpaceX is expanding the beta testing of its Starlink satellite network that will offer internet service from space. Strong performance from the company could lead to an IPO of the satellite division.
What Happened: Starlink has widened the public beta testing for its satellite internet service, reports CNBC. Starlink is owned by SpaceX, the rocket company owned and founded by Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk.
Customers can preorder the satellite service that will cost $99 a month. The preorder is fully refundable. A reservation does not guarantee service and service could take more than six months to fulfill.
Some customers got messages saying they would be covered in late 2021, others were told not until 2022. The service is available to customers in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom as part of the initial public beta rollout.
Starlink rolled out a public beta in October to some customers, offering service for $99 a month and a $499 upfront cost for a kit that includes a WIFI router and user terminal.
An FCC filing last week revealed Starlink has amassed over 10,000 customers since launching the public beta testing three months ago.
What’s Next: The SpaceX-owned Starlink segment has been rumored as an IPO target for years.
Musk told reporters in 2019 that Starlink could generate $30 billion a year in revenue, making the company a hot target for a potential IPO.
Starlink has launched over 1,000 satellites and hopes to have 4,425 in orbit by 2024. The FCC has approved 11,943 satellites to be launched by Starlink.
In September, Musk said Starlink has plans to IPO and retail investors would get top priority. The billionaire entrepreneur told a follower on Twitter to hold him to it when it comes to retail investors getting first dibs at the Starlink IPO.
“SpaceX needs to pass through a deep chasm of negative cash flow over the next year or so to make Starlink financially viable,” Musk shared on Twitter.
The CEO warned that satellite constellation companies have gone bankrupt before. “We hope to be the first that does not.”
The IPO timing could come down to the timing of the company launching all of its satellites and service to more areas. This could provide financial stability and help with projections.
“Once we can predict cash flow reasonably well, Starlink will IPO.”
Photo courtesy: SpaceX via Flickr
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