Elon Mask's satellite internet provokes the Houthis' fear of breaking their monopoly on service in Yemen

English - Thursday 17 March 2022 الساعة 03:48 pm
Sana'a, NewsYemen, private:

The Ministry of Communications, affiliated with the Houthi militia in Sanaa, has warned against importing and using satellite internet service equipment provided by Starlink, a company affiliated with American billionaire Elon Musk.

In a statement, the ministry warned against using the services of this company or any other company that provides the same service, noting that importing, selling and using these equipment exposes its users to security prosecution.

The ministry justified this warning "because these companies and equipment are not licensed by it," threatening that it will prosecute anyone who tries to use these services and confiscate their equipment.

Starlink seeks to provide Internet service through space by launching 12,000 satellites orbiting in low orbit to cover the area of the globe and providing Internet service with speeds starting from 50 and up to 150 megabytes per second, in the first stage.

Those who wish to obtain this service will need only a device for receiving a signal on the roof of the house, similar to TV broadcast capture devices, at a price of $500, and paying a monthly subscription starting at $99.

According to press reports, the company began providing its services in a limited number of countries, although it was able to launch more than 2,000 satellites and now covers large areas of the globe, including Yemen. However, entering the service requires official approval or no objection from countries to the introduction of equipment  service reception.

Although the price of equipment and subscription to the service is high compared to the level of income of citizens in Yemen, the service can be transformed into small projects for a segment of young people to resell to citizens, as is the case currently with the local networks spread in most Yemeni cities.

Despite this, it is much cheaper compared to the internet service provided by the "Yemen Net" company, which is under the control of the Houthis and monopolizes the provision of service in Yemen, as the maximum speed provided by the company via DSL phone lines does not exceed 8 megabytes and at a price of 59 thousand riyals per month, or about $100 and a balance  Limited is 600 GB only.

While the company announces the provision of internet service via optical fibers “Fiber packages - FTTH” in limited areas of Sana’a for companies and institutions with speeds ranging between 25-100 megabytes and prices starting from 40,000 riyals, or about $66, and rising to 167,000 riyals, or about $280  per month, with a limited usage balance.

These figures confirm the accusations made by Yemenis about the company’s exploitation of its monopoly in providing Internet service at the most expensive prices and with very poor quality, which makes them fear any attempts to break this monopoly, which will cause the Houthi group to lose revenues amounting to billions of riyals per month.