Starlink falls short of customer and revenue goals

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SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service has not met the ambitious customer and revenue goals that the company shared with investors before building the network, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

A 2015 presentation that SpaceX used to raise money from investors projected that in 2022, Starlink would hit 20 million subscribers and generate nearly $12 billion in revenue and $7 billion in operating profit. However, the WSJ said it obtained the 2015 presentation and recent documents with numbers on Starlink’s actual performance in 2022, and found that the service had only 1.4 million subscribers and generated $1.4 billion in revenue. The documents didn’t specify whether Starlink is profitable.

The WSJ wrote that Starlink hasn’t signed up customers as quickly as SpaceX had hoped. Toward the end of last year, Starlink had more than one million active subscribers, SpaceX has said. The company thought its satellite-internet business would have 20 million subscribers as 2022 closed out, according to SpaceX’s 2015 presentation.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said in February that Starlink is expected to turn a profit this year. While Starlink’s specific profit or loss is unknown, the WSJ previously reported that SpaceX overall “eke[d] out a small profit in the first three months of [2023] after two annual losses.” SpaceX’s Q1 2023 numbers reportedly included a $55 million profit on $1.5 billion in revenue.

The sources for this piece include an article in ArsTechnica.

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