Currently available in 32 countries, SpaceX recently noted that it is planning to expand the availability of its Starlink satellite Internet service in various countries throughout the world in 2023. Among them is Malaysia although we do have some reservations regarding it.
This is because the company which belonged to Elon Musk has previously said that the service would be available here within 2022. Furthermore, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) did not respond to our previous enquiries when we tried to obtain further clarifications on whether SpaceX has already applied for the necessary regulatory approvals to operate in Malaysia.
However, a Twitter thread by the Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali a few hours ago may have provided the first official view from the government regarding Starlink. The minister is currently on a trade talk tour in the United States and has previously met representatives from Microsoft as well as Amazon prior to the meeting at SpaceX.
Over there, he was welcomed by the Director of SpaceX’s Commercial Sales, Andrew Matlock as well as Jonathan Hofeller and Samuel Gibbs IV who were Vice Presidents at Starlink. Also representing SpaceX is the company’s Senior Manager of Government Affairs, Rebecca Hunter.
In the thread, Azmin has generally explained what Starlink is all about with the emphasis on Internet services for remote and rural areas. He concluded the thread by noting that the government is looking forward to having Starlink’s presence in Malaysia.
While Azmin’s visit to SpaceX may seem rather minor when compared to what Indonesian President Joko Widodo has experienced last week as he was actually welcomed by Elon himself but the focus on Starlink still made it interesting, nevertheless. However, do note that Starlink comes with a hefty price tag as the basic kit alone already costs USD599 (~RM2,638) and there is also a monthly fee of USD110 (~RM485).
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