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Elon Musk's Starlink enters Kenya

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Elon Musk's SpaceX satellite Internet service, Starlink, has entered the Kenyan market, intensifying competition to local players like Safaricom.

The move is part of the company's expansion plans into the African market and is part of its mission to provide Internet access to remote and underserved areas around the world.

To enable connection, Kenyans can get broadband Internet services for 6,500 Kenyan Shillings ($46) per month with a one-time hardware cost of KES92,000 ($650).

Internet connectivity solutions provider Karibu Connect has been appointed as the first authorized reseller for Starlink in the East African country.

Karibu Connect in a statement said it will extend Starlink's connectivity to diverse sectors in rural Kenya, including small businesses, industry, telecommunications, multi-dwelling units, education, tourism hospitality, maritime and government organizations.

"Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency service is made possible via the world's largest constellation of highly advanced satellites operating in a low orbit around the Earth," Starlink said on its website.

Moreover, the company does not require long-term contracts and says customers can cancel at any time, for any reason. Users also have 30 days to try the service and if they are not satisfied, they can return the hardware for a full refund.

Starlink brings competition to Kenya

Starlink's entry into the Kenyan market will be met by stiff competition from the likes of Safaricom.

Safaricom has spent billions of Kenyan shillings over the past five years on building its fixed-data network to connect homes, amid growth for online streaming services.

In terms of speed, Starlink will also be competing with the likes of Airtel Kenya, which recently launched 5G in the country, following Safaricom's 5G launch in October 2022.

Starlink's African reach

In Africa, Starlink is already available in Mozambique, Nigeria and Rwanda as well as the French department islands of Reunion and Mayotte off the African coast.

According to Musk's Internet company's connectivity map, the service is set to launch in 17 more African countries in 2023, with Zambia and Angola scheduled for a 2023 launch.

Furthermore, 16 countries including Uganda, Tunisia, Ghana and Egypt are scheduled for a 2024 release, while 18 more countries have unconfirmed launch windows.

In April 2023, South Africa's minister of communications and digital technologies, Mondli Gungubele, denied claims that the government was blocking Starlink from operating in the country. He said that Starlink had not applied for a license to operate in South Africa.

Currently, Starlink's website says that the "service date is unknown at this time" for South Africa.

Related posts:

*Top image is of Starlink's coverage map showing service availability in Kenya. (Source: Starlink's website.)

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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