The first videos published by the pioneers in the use of this new service have surprised, among other things, by the parabolic antennas capable of autonomous orientation to capture the signal from the Starlink satellites.

A motorized system orients the antenna in an automated way , but this could change if the information from a source close to SpaceX (private space company) and Starlink (manager of the communication satellites to low rise, both directed by Elon Musk.

Cheaper outside than inside

Apparently SpaceX would be paying too much for the access terminals it delivers to Starlink customers, a higher price than it charges these pioneering customers , and to try to balance the balance it would have signed a Multi-year agreement with third-party companies that take care of this aspect. Specifically, one of these companies would be STMicroelectronics, which would be in charge of manufacturing these terminals.

A production of one million terminals would have been contracted with a price of $ 2,400, with which SpaceX would be assuming to put $ 1,900 for devices for which it charges $ 500 to Starlink customers . It is necessary, as we see, to balance these figures.

Neither company (SpaceX / Starlink or STMicroelectronics) has made any statement in this regard, but a video has appeared on the Internet in which one of Starlink’s customers has disassembled the terminal that connects to the motorized satellite dish and most of the components come from STMicroelectronics.

More for less

This situation, close to dumping if there were more competition in the Internet access service with worldwide satellite coverage, is clearly unsustainable in the short term by charging the customer for the signal receiving device and the parabolic antenna itself a quarter of its manufacturing price.

In this sense, some experts suggest that after an initial phase in which the entire connection kit is packaged so that the user himself is the one who places the satellite dish, a solution would be to return to the traditional method. Instead of a motorized antenna that automatically detects the signal, Starlink could become even more competitive if it manages to lower that access price by resorting to fixed parabolic antennas.

A motorized auto-steering system may make sense for roaming installations, but it is unnecessarily expensive for a device that will only use these complex mechanisms once.

In return, and beyond outsourcing the manufacture of the entire pack of access and transformation of satellite signals , others argue that the economy of scale of manufacturing a sufficient number of these motorized systems and automatic systems would become unbeatable against the expense of the displacement of the technicians of installation and orientation of parabolic antennas.

At the moment, those who continue to win are Starlink customers and soon the external companies with which SpaceX contracts to manufacture the terminals.