SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service generated $1.4 billion in revenue last year, a significant increase from $222 million in 2021. The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Although sales increased significantly compared to the previous year, they did not meet billionaire CEO Elon Musk’s forecasts during his 2015 investor presentation.
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In the first three months of 2023, SpaceX reported that it generated a profit of $55 million and revenue of $1.5 billion, marking its first profit after two years of financial losses, according to According to documents viewed by SpaceX WSJ. This represents a stark contrast to Musk’s 2015 forecast that Starlink would make $7 billion in operating profit and generate nearly $12 billion in revenue in 2022 WSJ.
Starlink also reportedly took longer to acquire customers than Musk expected. According to the report, Musk will have about one million active subscribers by the end of 2022, a significant decrease from the 20 million subscribers Musk had expected.
Starlink’s credibility was questioned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last year after Starlink received $885.5 million in grants. It later reversed its decision, claiming Starlink “failed to meet program requirements.”
“After careful legal, technical and political review, we are rejecting these requests. Consumers deserve reliable and affordable high-speed broadband,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a letter last year declining to support Starlink under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program. She continued: “As we move toward a digital future that requires ever stronger and faster networks, we must make the most of scarce universal service dollars.” We cannot afford to subsidize companies that fail to deliver the promised speeds or program requirements probably won’t be fulfilled.”
Starlink’s earnings report comes at a time when Musk has recently faced criticism over his refusal to deliver Starlink satellites to Crimea to support Ukraine’s war effort. Musk’s biography, published on Tuesday, revealed that Musk disabled Starlink satellites in Crimea as Ukraine prepared a drone strike on the Russian fleet. Musk reportedly rejected Ukraine’s urgent request to turn on the satellites in a Twitter post post Last week he wrote: “If I had accepted your request, SpaceX would have been explicitly involved in a major act of war and the escalation of the conflict.”
SpaceX has around 4,200 Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit and has made them available in 60 countries. At the same time, SpaceX is trying to attract other consumers by making user kits available at Home Depot and Best Buy. Earlier this year, Gwynne Shotwell, who runs SpaceX alongside Musk, told the WSJ She expects Starlink to generate more revenue by the end of 2023.