One of Tesla’s most ardent bulls believes that Elon Musk’s Starlink has a lot of innate potential, so much so that the satellite internet service may churn over $20 billion of cash flow annually. To get to this point, however, Starlink would first have to survive its early years, which would likely be extremely challenging.
In a recent note, ARK Invest, a firm that was closest in predicting TSLA stock’s wild rise last year, stated that it believes Starlink’s cash flows would be negative for the first eight years. This, according to the firm, would be due to the high cost of launching the satellites into space. Elon Musk’s SpaceX manages these expenses to some degree by launching batches of Starlink satellites in reused rockets, but the costs remain substantial.
ARK Invest stated that according to its research, Starlink’s satellites would likely be de-orbited every five years on average. This should allow the constellation to scale up to a significant degree, provided that the service survives its early days of attracting customers. ARK Invest Analyst Sam Korus explained this in the following.
“SpaceX’s satellite business could generate more than $20 billion of cash flow annually on a constellation that costs roughly $10 billion to launch, as replacement satellites would launch at much higher utilization rates. If we are correct, Starlink then would be able to acquire a terrestrial internet provider and minimize latency by routing internet traffic, gaining another competitive edge,” Korus wrote.
Elon Musk has noted that Starlink is still a few years away from delivering a predictable revenue, though he has stated that the satellite internet system had crossed the “strategically important” threshold of 69,420 active users last month. So far, SpaceX has launched over 1,500 Starlink satellites, and it hopes to have over 4,400 satellites in orbit by 2024. SpaceX is aiming to provide internet access globally later this year as well.
This would likely be up to SpaceX’s capability to launch Starlink satellites as fast as it can, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved 11,943 satellites to be launched into orbit. Starlink is expected to comprise 42,000 satellites around the planet in its completed form, effectively providing high-speed internet access to even the remotest parts of the world.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with news tips. Just send a message to [email protected] to give us a heads up.