- Elon Musk has said that SpaceX's Starlink internet could be available globally from August.
- SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell recently said that Starlink would be available from September.
- Musk said that Starlink had about 69,000 customers, and could hit more than 500,000 in 12 months.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Starlink, Elon Musk's satellite internet service, could be available globally a month earlier than planned, the billionaire entrepreneur has suggested.
Musk said on Tuesday that Starlink could be ready in August. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president, said previously that Starlink's high-speed broadband would be operational worldwide from September.
Regulators in individual countries must approve Starlink before people there can use it.
Musk told Mobile World Congress (MWC), a major telecoms industry conference, that Starlink has more than 69,000 customers signed up so far - but that this could reach more than 500,000 in the next 12 months.
The boss of SpaceX and Tesla said the only place Starlink broadband wouldn't be immediately available would be the north and south poles. He said in a June 25 tweet that the poles would take another six months to be connected.
Starlink's low-orbit satellites could bring high-speed broadband to remote and rural areas. So far, SpaceX has launched more than 1,500 satellites into orbit, which provide internet to about 12 countries, Musk told MWC.
Musk also told the conference that SpaceX was losing money on its internet terminals, which cost the company $1,000 (R14,000) to make and are sold to customers for around $500 (R7,000) each with a $99 monthly subscription (R1,386). He said in the interview that Starlink was working on building new terminals that cost less.
In May, SpaceX said that more than 500,000 people had placed an order or put down a deposit for Starlink.
He also hinted at "two quite significant partnerships with major country" telecoms companies in the MWC interview but declined to give further details.