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Connectivity

SpaceX's Starlink launches in Malawi

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Malawi has become the fifth African country to have access to Elon Musk's SpaceX satellite Internet service, Starlink, after it received an operating license in October 2022.

In a Tweet, Starlink announced that the Internet service is now fully operational.

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

To enable connection, Malawians can get broadband Internet services for 52,000 Malawian Kwacha ($49) per month with a one-time hardware cost of MWK577,726 ($550).

Starlink's African expansion

Starlink's availability in Malawi 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.

"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.

Malawians can access Starlink's broadband Internet services for 52,000 Malawian Kwacha ($49) per month with a one-time hardware cost of MWK 577,726 ($550).   (Source: Image by Allexxandar on Freepik.)
Malawians can access Starlink's broadband Internet services for 52,000 Malawian Kwacha ($49) per month with a one-time hardware cost of MWK 577,726 ($550).
(Source: Image by Allexxandar on Freepik.)

According to Musk's Internet company connectivity map, the service is set to launch in 16 more African countries in 2023, including in Zambia and Angola.

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

Starlink is currently obtaining a license in Ghana for the service to go live in Q4 of 2023.

It is, however, not clear when South Africans will have access to Starlink's services.

In April 2023, the country'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 Malawi. (Source: Starlink's website.)

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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