KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Communications Minister, Fahmi Fadzil, announced on July 20 that Starlink, Elon Musk’s satellite communications company, has been granted a license to offer internet services across the country, primarily targeting remote areas. Initiated by Musk’s SpaceX, Starlink’s first mission will be providing services to schools and tertiary institutions. The government also expressed its willingness to partner with satellite communications companies like Starlink to achieve 100% internet coverage in populated regions, addressing the lack of internet access in about 3% of such areas due to geographical and infrastructure limitations.
This development followed a week after Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s discussion with Musk concerning his companies’ potential investments in Malaysia. Earlier this year, the government confirmed the establishment of a Tesla office in the country and sanctioned Tesla’s application to import battery-run EVs as part of a broader effort to encourage sustainable transportation.
On the same day, Tesla launched its Model Y sport utility electric vehicle in Kuala Lumpur, announcing the commencement of Malaysian deliveries in the upcoming year.
In related news, Starlink has officially commenced operations in Malaysia, offering its satellite broadband service. Operated under SpaceX, Starlink provides high-speed, lower latency broadband compared to traditional GEO satellites. Priced at RM220/month, this service promises download speeds of approximately 100Mbps, and customers can trial the service for 30 days, seeking a full refund by returning the hardware if unsatisfied.
Starlink provides two hardware options in Malaysia: the standard equipment priced at RM2,300 and the High-Performance option priced at RM11,613. While the standard kit is intended for residential, everyday applications, the High-Performance version is recommended for power users and business applications, featuring improved weather resistance and triple-speed capabilities at temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius. Both kits include a self-orienting motorised satellite dish and a Starlink WiFi router that supports up to 802.11ac WiFi 5 with dual-band 3×3 MIMO. The High-Performance dish is larger and consumes more power than the standard version.
Starlink’s specifications for the standard fixed plans promise a download speed of 25-100Mbps, upload speeds of 5-10Mbps, and latency akin to a 4G connection at 25-60ms. Customers should be aware that satellite broadband is a limited resource and that Starlink enforces a Fair Usage Policy.