Starlink officially kicked off commercial satellite-based internet service in Indonesia, with Elon Musk and the country’s Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin attending the inauguration in Bali.

Details on Starlink’s local partners and availability were not disclosed, but Jakarta Globe reported the service costs IDR750,000 ($46.95) per month, twice the average spent in the country on internet service. Customers need a VSAT (very small aperture terminal) device or signal receiver station to use the solution.

Starlink secured VSAT and ISP business permits earlier in May, first targeting underdeveloped regions in remote locations.

Internet penetration in Indonesia neared 80 per cent at the end of 2023, data from Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association showed.

The country, with about 277 million people, has the fourth largest population in the world. The nation is made up of 17,000 islands, which creates challenges in deploying mobile and fixed-line internet nationwide.

Starlink also in received approvals to offer the service in Malaysia and the Philippines.

The company aims to enable SMS messaging directly from a network of low Earth orbit satellites this year followed by voice and data starting in 2025. In early January, parent SpaceX launched the first of six satellites to deliver mobile coverage.