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How Amazon And SpaceX Stack Up in 2022

Amazon And SpaceX Stack Up in 2022
Image Source: bgr

SpaceX and Amazon are competing to provide the most advanced satellite-based internet service yet. The notion of them competing is an enticing one, but how do they really stack up thus far?

SpaceX vs. Amazon

Until recently, it was SpaceX, its CEO Elon Musk and its internet product Starlink grabbing most of the headlines. After all, Starlink has exceeded most expectations, and the reaction online from customers in the beta program is starting to make this all feel very real. Amazon has mostly been all talk.

But that changed this month when Amazon inked significant contracts with Arianespace, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance to launch Project Kuiper satellites into space. These agreements will allow them to send up thousands of satellites via 80 or more launches spread out over the next several years.

Starlink Is Ahead and More Ambitious

Best case scenario for Amazon is that they are competing with SpaceX by 2025. That probably requires everything to go right, but in contrast, almost everything has gone right for SpaceX. Starlink had already entered its beta program by the end of 2021. It had expanded it early in 2022, and it intends to be publicly available at least in North America by the end of the year. That makes 2025 seem a long time away. In addition, Amazon currently plans to launch 3,236 satellites. Starlink has already launch 2,335. It has the go-ahead to launch 4,408 in all and intends for more than 30,000 when it is all done.

Starlink Prices Are Already Up

When the beta program went live, Starlink required a $99 deposit that went toward the $499 equipment fee that includes the receiver dish, shipping and handling and taxes. The monthly cost was $99. Due to inflation, Starlink has increased the equipment fee to $599 and the monthly charge to $110. This may not be a deal breaker. The average American spends $86 a month on internet access, and 82% of homes spend $116. Still, Amazon asserts that it can make entry dramatically more affordable, and when you consider what it has accomplished with its Fire lineup, it is not difficult to believe.

Starlink Is Pretty Fast but Amazon Makes Bold Claims

Satellite internet provider Starlink is promising users between 100 and 200 Mbps to start, and most customers in the beta program are getting more than 100 Mbps on a consistent basis. SpaceX has also announced Starlink Premium, which will provide at least 150 Mbps and as much as 500 Mbps. It cost $500 a month. Musk once asserted that Starlink will eventually rival fiber internet speeds, and that generated some excitement. But the introduction of the premium service certainly dampened that interest. Amazon, on the other hand, has promised speeds up to 400 Mbps and at least 200 Mbps, which is impressive in contrast.

Final Thoughts

When comparing Project Kuiper to Starlink right now, it is all about potential with Amazon. The retail giant is certainly putting its money where its proverbial mouth is, but it has not backed up any of the assertions yet. Starlink dealt with a lot of skeptics and managed not only to exceed expectations but its own schedule. If it is live throughout the U.S. in 2022, that is very impressive. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to imagine a successful Project Kuiper outperforming Starlink among the rural Americans who will likely be the largest potential base until speeds increase another tier or two.

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