Ukrainians complain over Starlink price hike
Ukrainian Starlink users are demanding answers from CEO Elon Musk over a proposed price hike to their satellite internet, according to several tweets posted on Tuesday. Dimko Zhluktenko, the founder of an NGO devoted to supplying the military with Starlink dishes, condemned the $10 price increase described in screenshots circulating on social media as “not cool,” but promised to “find the cost-effective solution.”
Users reported receiving emails from Starlink informing them their monthly service charge would increase from $65 to $75, while the cost of the satellite dish is set to go up from $500 to $700. The new fees are set to take effect on December 29, but “if you do not wish to continue your service, you can cancel at any time,” the message explains.
Another Ukrainian Twitter user, Roman Kyryliuk, demanded to know “what reasons impacted” the price increase, reminding Musk that “the financial situation is not good here.”
Starlink users in Ukraine receive a modest discount compared to their stateside peers, and many of the systems used by the military are paid for by the US government, NATO, NGOs, and other sponsors of Kiev’s war effort. Monthly subscription costs in Ukraine were slashed in August from $100 to $60, though under the new pricing regime, the dishes cost slightly less for American users ($599).
While Musk’s finances are something of a black box due to the privately-held nature of his companies, the world’s richest man complained several months ago that he was having trouble carrying the cost of keeping the Ukrainian military online, calling for the Pentagon to pay its fair share of the costs for the high-tech internet service.
Earlier this month, some 1,300 Starlink terminals in Ukraine allegedly went dark due to overdue bills, according to CNN. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, aware of the looming problem of making ends meet, had asked its UK counterparts for $3.25 million to bridge the gap, but was reportedly turned down.
While Ukrainian users and their supporters clamored for answers from Musk on Tuesday, the newly-minted Twitter owner appeared to be preoccupied trading barbs with Apple and the Western media establishment. On Monday, he revealed that not only had Apple “threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store,” but that the tech behemoth “won’t tell us why.”