Elon Musk's Starlink becomes the most-downloaded app in Ukraine

Elon Musk’s Starlink app that allows people access to a satellite-based internet service becomes the most-downloaded in Ukraine

  • Starlink app has become the most-downloaded app in Ukraine, new data shows
  • Elon Musk’s technology allows people access to satellite-based internet service
  • SpaceX CEO delivered terminals for service to the war-torn country last month
  • Figures show app has now been downloaded almost 100,000 times in Ukraine

Elon Musk’s Starlink app – which allows people access to a satellite-based internet service – has become the most-downloaded app in Ukraine, new data shows.

The SpaceX CEO delivered the terminals that provide the service after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the country last month.

Since then, figures show the app has been downloaded almost 100,000 times in Ukraine, with global downloads more than tripling in the last two weeks. 

Sensor Tower, a firm that provides App Store and Google Play data, said the app was downloaded 21,000 times globally across the two stores on Sunday.

That is the most global installs in a single day, the company added, with the majority of the downloads coming from Ukraine. 

Elon Musk has warned there is a high chance SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service in Ukraine could be ‘targeted’ by Russia 


As of March 15, the top 10 most downloaded iPhone apps in Ukraine are: 

Source: Sensor Tower 

Musk delivered the terminals for satellite-based internet following a request by Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister and minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov.

According to a Tesla company email seen by CNBC last week, the car maker, of which Musk is also the CEO, helped to quickly deliver the Starlink infrastructure.

It is understood that Tesla battery storage systems were also provided to power them.

However, earlier this month Musk warned there was a high chance SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service in Ukraine could be ‘targeted’ by Russia. 

The billionaire entrepreneur voiced his concerns just days after an internet security researcher cautioned that devices used for satellite communications could become ‘beacons’ that Russia may target for airstrikes.

‘Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution,’ Musk tweeted.

He asked users to ‘turn on Starlink only when needed and place antenna away as far away from people as possible’ and ‘place light camouflage over antenna to avoid visual detection.’ 

Internet outages have been on the rise across Ukraine since Russia invaded three weeks ago, including in Mariupol, Sumy, Kharkiv and the capital city of Kyiv.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence warned last week that Moscow is ‘probably’ targeting Ukraine’s communications infrastructure.

One of Ukraine’s major internet providers has reportedly been hacked several times, resetting service devices to factory settings, although it is unclear whether Russia is directly behind those attacks.  

Internet access may also have been interrupted because of collateral infrastructure damage from Putin’s soldiers.

At the end of February Musk said Starlink was activated in Ukraine and SpaceX was sending more terminals to the country, responding to a tweet by a Ukraine government official who asked Musk to provide the embattled country with Starlink stations. 

The country’s vice prime minister thanked Starlink for ‘keeping our cities connected and emergency services saving lives!’

But he said the country needed generators to keep the satellite broadband service online because of Russian attacks on infrastructure.

In response, Musk said SpaceX was updating software to reduce peak power consumption, so Starlink can be powered from car cigarette lighters.

‘Mobile roaming enabled, so phased array antenna can maintain signal while on moving vehicle,’ he said.

Tim Farrar, a consultant in satellite communications, said Starlink antennas, which look like home satellite television dishes, are not designed to be used while in motion, and it was not clear what Musk meant by the tweet.


Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched more than 2,000 of its ‘Starlink’ space internet satellites into orbit and hopes to have 12,000 in the sky by 2026.

They form a constellation designed to provide low-cost broadband internet service from low Earth orbit. 

While satellite internet has been around for a while, it has suffered from high latency and unreliable connections.

Starlink is different. SpaceX said its goal is to provide high-speed, cable-like internet all over the world. 

Musk has previously said the venture could give three billion people who currently do not have access to the internet a cheap way of getting online.

It could also help fund a future city on Mars.

Helping humanity reach the red planet is one of Musk’s long-stated aims and was what inspired him to start SpaceX.

Musk’s rival Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, also plans to launch a constellation of low Earth-orbit satellites to provide broadband access to remote areas, as part of its Project Kuiper.

However, astronomers have raised concerns about the light pollution and other interference cased by these satellite constellations. 

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