SpaceX’s satellite internet system Starlink is popular enough that it’s broken into the top 100 most downloaded iPhone apps in the US on Apple’s App Store.
According to app-tracking firm SensorTower(Opens in a new window), the Starlink app on Wednesday cracked into the top 100 rankings for the first time, ending the day as the 54th most downloaded iPhone app for US users. The app has since fallen to 96th, putting it above Roblox, Tinder, and Microsoft Office.
“As for why it broke into the top 100 rankings yesterday on the iOS store, we can only speculate,” says SensorTower analyst Stephanie Chan in an email. “It’s possible that because Starlink has been in the news lately (e.g. adding more satellites to its network, seeking exemptions so that they can service Iran) that it has helped raise awareness or bolster curiosity about it.”
In recent weeks, SpaceX has also been fulfilling additional pre-orders for the satellite internet service through a new “Best Effort” tier. Customers can also receive the service immediately if they opt for Starlink RV.
Along with the app rankings, SensorTower has been tracking Starlink’s total app installs on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. The company estimates the Starlink app has been downloaded about 2.3 million times worldwide since January 2021.
“Its largest markets by installs are the US with approximately 887,000 installs or about 38% of total downloads, followed by Ukraine with 806,000 installs (35% of lifetime downloads) and Canada with 209,000 installs (9%),” Chan adds.
Ranking fourth is Australia while the fifth largest market is Uzbekistan, where Starlink has yet to officially arrive. Nevertheless, the Uzbekistan government has reportedly(Opens in a new window) been trying to bring Starlink to the country.
(Credit: iOS App Store)
The Starlink app is free to download. But its main purpose is to help paying subscribers set up and use the Starlink hardware to receive satellite internet. In addition, it can monitor a Starlink connection and its speed. Hence, the app install numbers do offer an idea of Starlink’s total user base, although some people could be downloading the app out of curiosity, while others could be installing it on multiple devices.
Officially, SpaceX recently told(Opens in a new window) France’s Le Monde it has 700,000 Starlink customers, with another 700,000 on the waitlist.
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According to SensorTower, the Starlink app saw the most downloads in a single month in March after SpaceX started shipping Starlink dishes to Ukraine. The country now has over 12,000 Starlink dishes, which have been helping Ukraine stay online during its war with Russia.
“On the US Google Play store, Starlink is currently not ranked among overall top apps,” Chan adds. “However, we’re seeing an uptick in its ranking in the Tools category. On Sept. 20, Starlink was No. 316 in Tools, and it leapt to No. 258 on Sept. 21. It’s currently No. 108.”
Still, Starlink’s popularity also seems to be stretching network capacity. As a result, a growing number of users are enduring slower speeds, generating complaints among affected subscribers. To resolve the congestion problems, SpaceX plans on launching thousands of more satellites into orbit, but this will require regulatory approval.
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