SpaceX's Starlink user growth dropped in December as some preorder customers became frustrated over waiting 11 months for the internet service

  • SpaceX's Starlink added 5,000 users over the past two months, a drop compared with previous months.

  • It comes as some customers have waited around 11 months after paying a deposit for Starlink.

  • SpaceX has apologized to customers, saying that silicon shortages have slowed the production rate.

The number of users signing up to SpaceX's Starlink dropped in December as some preorder customers became frustrated over waiting around 11 months for the internet service.

Starlink now has more than 145,000 users in 25 countries worldwide, SpaceX engineer Jessie Anderson said during a live webcast of the company's first launch of 2022 on Thursday.

This was an increase of 5,000 users since early November, when SpaceX said in a presentation filed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that the company had 140,000 users in 20 countries.

It marks a decline in user growth over the past two months, given that Starlink has usually added more than 10,000 users every month in 2021, per CNBC.

In February, SpaceX said in a petition to the FCC that Starlink had more than 10,000 users in the US and abroad.

CEO Elon Musk said in June that Starlink had nearly 70,000 users, before the company said in July that it had around 90,000 users in 12 countries.

In August, Musk tweeted that SpaceX had shipped 100,000 user terminals for Starlink, without clarifying whether this meant that the satellite internet service now has 100,000 users.

Starlink did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The drop in subscriber base comes as some Starlink customers told Insider they're still waiting for the service months after they paid a $100 deposit. Some have even requested refunds. Insider saw email confirmations of their Starlink purchases and refunds.

One preorder customer, based in rural East Texas, told Insider that he paid a deposit to secure Starlink in March and was expecting the service to come to him in mid to late 2021 but said he hasn't heard anything from the company.

"I do NOT need to sign up and pay for another internet service provider that is terrible on customer service," he said.

After paying $100 for Starlink in February, one preorder customer in West Virginia told Insider that he was still waiting for the service without hearing anything from Starlink, and his delivery date was pushed back to early 2022. "I'm in a bad situation," he said.

Another preorder customer emailed Insider to say that he paid a $100 deposit in April to get Starlink for his father who lives on a secluded cattle ranch in northern California. "Months went by and not a peep," he said. The customer added that he had requested a refund in November.

SpaceX has apologized via email to Starlink preorder customers for shipping delays, saying silicon shortages have slowed down its production rate.

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