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SpaceX's Starlink launches in Zambia

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SpaceX's satellite Internet service, Starlink, has launched in Zambia, making it the sixth African country where the company is offering its service.

"Starlink's high-speed internet is now available in Zambia," the company confirmed in a post on X (formerly Twitter), and the country is now showing as "available" on Starlink's connectivity map.

Earlier this year, Elon Musk's company conducted tests to launch its low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites across Zambia and was awarded an operating license in the country in June 2023.

Starlink's LEO satellite services are expected to extend broadband connectivity to disadvantaged users in remote parts of the Southern African nation.

Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema also posted the news on his official X account, saying: "Access to technology & information, is no longer a luxury for our people. A great step, as we work towards affordable digital access for all."

Starlink's website shows that, for Zambian users, the hardware will cost 10,744 Zambian Kwacha (US$505) and the monthly subscription fee is 771 Zambian Kwacha ($36) per month.

"You can expect Starlink's typical high speed internet with brief periods of intermittent service and high latency. Users will be able to engage in common internet activities like email, online shopping, or streaming a movie, but activities like online gaming or video calls may be challenging at times. Service will improve dramatically over the next year," Starlink said.

The company offers a 30-day trial with no contracts or data caps and said shipping times are currently estimated to be two to three weeks.

Starlink in Africa

In Africa, Starlink is already available in Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda and Malawi.

Last week, Starlink announced a partnership with e-commerce company Jumia to sell its Internet equipment for residential use in Africa.

The partnership will see Jumia sell Starlink satellite terminals in selected African nations, beginning with Nigeria in the next few weeks, with plans to subsequently expand to Kenya and other African countries where Jumia operates.

In Africa, Starlink broadband services are available in Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Malawi and now Zambia.   (Source: Starlink's website)
In Africa, Starlink broadband services are available in Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Malawi and now Zambia.
(Source: Starlink's website)

Last month, pan-African telco, data center and network services provider Paratus Group also announced it had signed a reseller agreement to provide Starlink's high-speed services across the African continent – with Zambia now included in the agreement.

Up until recently, Starlink's connectivity map showed several African launches set for 2023, but now only Togo and Benin are showing launch windows this year.

Meanwhile, 2024 is set to be a busy year for Starlink, with planned launches in more than 20 countries including Ghana, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Egypt.

Countries with unconfirmed launch dates include South Africa, Ethiopia, Algeria, Mali and Sudan.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Starlink.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

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