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Elon Musk’s Starlink Becomes Most-Downloaded App In Ukraine

Published 8 months ago
By Forbes

TOPLINE

Starlink, the app that enables mobile users to access SpaceX’s satellite internet service of the same name, was the most-downloaded app in Ukraine Monday afternoon after reaching the top spot Sunday, according to data seen by the Wall Street Journal, following SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s rapid delivery of the terminals that provide the service to the war-torn country last month.

KEY FACTS

Sensor Tower, a firm that provides App Store and Google Play data, told the Wall Street Journal the app was downloaded 21,000 times globally Sunday across the two stores—the most global installs in a single day, with most of the downloads coming from Ukraine.

The app has been downloaded nearly 100,000 times in Ukraine according to Sensor Tower, with global downloads more than tripling in the last two weeks.

Starlink became available in Ukraine days after Russia invaded, when the country’s minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, implored Musk via Twitter to provide Ukraine with the terminals that enable the service—a request Musk quickly obliged.

KEY BACKGROUND

A Tesla company email seen by CNBClast week showed the automaker, of which Musk is also the CEO, assisted in the rapid, two-day delivery of the Starlink terminals to Ukraine, providing Tesla battery storage systems to power them. Internet outages have been a growing issue in Ukraine since Russia began its invasion three weeks ago. The British Ministry of Defense warned last week Russia is “probably” targeting Ukraine’s communications infrastructure, but internet access could be also shutting off due to collateral infrastructure damage from Russian attacks. The Ministry reported outages in Mariupol, Sumy, Kharkiv and the capital city of Kyiv. The besieged city of Mariupol was effectively without internet for a week straight as of March 9, NBC News reported based on data from a U.S.-based internet tracking firm. Forbes reported last week one of Ukraine’s major internet providers had been hacked multiple times, resetting service devices to factory settings, though it is unclear whether Russia is directly behind these attacks.

TANGENT

Musk challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to “single combat” via Twitter Monday—with the stakes being Ukraine. In a tweeted response, Dmitry Rogozin, director general of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, called Musk a “weakling” and a “little devil” in Russian.

By Mason Bissada, Forbes Staff

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