Exactly that's the problem. Starlink is supposed to go up to 30k active satellites, and the V2 satellites are 5 times heavier than the old ones. SpaceX really needs to up the launch schedule if they want to get up to that number, especially with the heavier satellites, as they can only launch up to a dozen of them at once on a falcon 9, potentially even less depending on their size as the Falcon 9 fairing is fairly small. In other words, they need Starship asap unless they want to run into having more satellites failing than they can launch in time.
I know, especially Starshield, which are for the military, will grant them some extra money - but those are also separate satellites that will need some time to recover the costs of launching them. And while the other you mentioned to bring in more money (assuming the stores didn't simply got a $120 kit, as that should be perfectly enough for most of them), they are few and far between, and their low number results in but a drop in the bucket.
Commercial launches cost currently $67M, so I went with ~50M cost per launch, plus the satellites. I may be off, but I don't think it will be much lower than that.
True, but every delay risks giving more time to the competition. And I don't just mean other satellite constellations here, but also terrestrial networks expanding into areas that would in turn make something like Starlink unnecessary for an increasing amount of clients, and the latter are generally much cheaper than Starlink.
Starlink is mostly useful in rural areas. The US benefit by far the most from it, as most other developed countries (as in, countries where the general population has enough disposable income to spend on a monthly Starlink subscription) don't have nearly as many rural areas and they also often have better internet connection anyway, and they don't have quasi-monopolies who have carved up their state's terrestrial network into separate fiefdoms. As such, most clients will be Americans. Anecdotal, I know, but for instance, I live in a rural area and I could get much faster internet with a landline included for less than half the price (or just the internet for one third of the price), so Starlink is useless for me - and the same should be true for the vast majority of Europeans, Koreans or Japanese (Not sure about Canadians though). And while the US are a big market, it will not be enough long-term - and especially not nearly enough for the 1 billion subscribers target they announced at a press event.
Yes, that's the advantage over geostationary or MEO internet constellations that are already in place, that they allow gaming. The transfer speed advantage is small so far (most of those are 50Mbit/s or up to 100 mbit/s, plenty enough for browsing, Youtube, Netflix and the like or even big downloads), so only the lower ping is what sets Starlink apart from those in a good way - but again at twice the cost or more. Plus in most of those cases, your satellite dish can also receive satellite television, which to my information the Starlink dishes can't do. And some of them (in a higher LEO orbing neccessing much les satellites) actually have only a ping of around 70-100, which is still very playable.
Blue Origin will take a while for sure, as does Samsung. But they're by far not the only competitors in the business.
OneWeb is already building their constellation with currently over 500 satellites operational (would have been much more if their launch partner hadn't been Roscosmos, so all launches got cancelled after the invasion of Ukraine and only 2 more launches happened since then), Viasat's constellation is also in a LEO and already in it's third generation and are also widely used for in-flight internet, O3b is on a MEO at 8000 km altitude, so the signal takes a bit longer (minimum ping of ~85, which is still playable, though mostly at 100+) but doesn't cover polar regions (neither does Starlink btw, at least so far), HughesNet is in GEO, so a long ping of 600+, but at twice the speeds of Starlink, And AST Spacemobile is trying to build satellites that can connect to standard cellphones and smartphones 'so no satellite phones necessary, your standard phone will do) instead of a satellite dish, allowing for reception anywhere without extra hardware, though no satellite has been launched yet.
In short, Starlink ain't alone on the market, far from it, and all the other are cheaper. This can make the current price unsustainable on the long run if they start to market more to potential customers.
Yeah, the chinese constellation is pretty much strictly for China. But if they ban Starlink for instance, possibly later down the road when their own constellation is getting operational, then that's a huge potential market lost.
Like I mentioned, there are many other options beside Starlink, and that the US will be the primary market as all the others combined will probably still be smaller. The reachable market is much smaller than you seem to think.
It is fine because of so many investors having pumped billions into Starlink. If this dries up due to Elon's Shenenigans over at Twitter, Starlink may get into an liquidity issue before the constellation reaches it's full potential.
I do expect the number of clients to rise to about 5M relatively fast, but very slowly from there on out. Time will tell if this is gonna be enough to sustain Starlink or not.
Falcon launching the redesigned smaller gen 2 sats is just a temp solution until Starship is fully ready. When Starship is ready it will be launching the much larger original planned gen 2 sats and plenty of them. The sooner the better, but it is rocket science in this case, and doesn't need to happen tomorrow, just soon enough.
Starlink business, residential, and mobile are not all the same. Business get's a better dish, better signal stability, and higher priority for higher costs. Businesses could use the residential package, but why save a few bucks when the business package is much better and is totally worth the extra when it comes to how much you could lose when the landlines are down? For a small business sure, but for big business, like a box chain, using residential would be a poor decision.
The government or military may very well have worked to help develop Starshield and may have paid into it already. That wouldn't be abnormal, that way they get exactly what they want and know they will get the best service possible asap since they're not just simply paying customers. Even if it's all on SpaceX dime, odds are very good it's a high paying, long term contract, so they know the money is there for the future, so it can be spent now.
The sats aren't like typical sats though. They aren't one big specialty sat made like an exotic car by a smaller group, that has to work at launch or else and has to last a very long time. Starlink is a massive amount of smaller sats being made on what essentially is a production line. This makes their cost much much lower, and also allows SpaceX to launch a few duds here and there without having to worry, considering the other 50 or 60 launched with it are working as intended. They're also cheaper because they don't have to last very long. The plan is 5 years or so I think, then they'll ditch the earliest sats into the atmosphere and burn them up, and then replace them. They may have to stay up there for a few extra years, but the point is they'd only have to be made for a 10 year lifespan max, not 25 to 50 years like most others. The gen 2 sats are also supposed to offer higher speeds, so no reason to keep the older slower sats around once you can launch enough newer upgraded sats. It's a great business cycle, if they can keep up and they're still on track so far.
Starlink is way ahead of the competition. That's not to say they'll always be way ahead, but they've got little to worry about for the next decade before anyone starts to challenge them. With LEO or MEO sats, it's not like the first 50 to 60 launched or whatever, go live immediately. It's like 500 - 1000 have to be up before they fire up the network, so you've got to get them all up and operational first, then work out any kinks and deal with any customer or media negativity and complaints.
You've also got the fact that once One Web, Project Kuiper, etc, get up and running, they'll also be limited to how many customers they can bring online, like Starlink so far, compared to future Starlink which will have far more availability due to their expansion and breakthrough's. It's not like the competition will figure everything out instantly that SpaceX and Starlink has had to struggle with. It'll help the competition, but won't accelerate them to short term worrisome competition.
LEO and MEO sats are almost everything to rural consumers. There's also plenty of consumers who live on the outskirts of cities who can't get Starlink speeds, unlimited data, or the landline prices are outrageous, especially data overage charges. This is a problem in the US for tens of millions, but even a bigger problem in places like Canada. I think you are greatly underestimating how many people will get Starlink if they can, at least up until there is viable competition, and as Starlink inches towards profitability, they'll also be able to lower prices. More and more people are being brought out of poverty, or becoming middle class around the world, so LEO and MEO sat consumers will continue to grow as time goes on. Are second and third world nations going to lay fiber if they can just set up dishes at each location?
As for the branching out of landline telecommunications, and Starlink's eventual demise, at least for residential consumers, that is possible eventually. The markets for example will want to use Starlink and stay on LEO sats because the cross world communications are faster and that means a lot, as long as Starlink is deemed reliable enough for them. Governments and military will also want to use sats if deemed reliable enough. That's where the money is anyway.
If rural consumers get fiber installed, due to Starlink and its eventual competition, then so be it, but who do you think people are going to thank for that, because it won't be the telco's. Maybe the small guys, but up until recently, due to competition from Starlink, the telco's haven't given a crap about people outside the cities. How far they will actually push into the countryside, and how many consumers will go back to those disliked or even hated companies is something we'll have to wait and see, but I have my doubts. T-Mobile didn't partner with Starlink and Verizon didn't partner with Project Kuiper recently so they could build out more landline or ground based wireless. I know more than a few people, not wealthy either, who go out of their way to stay away from big telecom at all costs.
There's also plenty of unknowns, which could solidify or break Starlink. It looks to me like Elon has a much bigger plan, when you look at what he's building and acquiring or partnering with. Most recently he's been hinting at a smartphone possibly. If he decides to build an ecosystem, or even bundles it all together, it's going to make everything he offers even more likely to have legs.