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Connectivity

Elon Musk's Starlink enters Benin

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SpaceX's satellite Internet service, Starlink, has launched in the West African country of Benin, making it the seventh African country where the company is offering its service.

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

According to Starlink's website, the Beninese will pay 30,000 West African CFA francs (US$49) monthly, with a one-time equipment cost of CFA400,000 ($655) and shipping and handling fees of CFA15,000 ($25).

Starlink users in Benin will need to pay $5 per month to the regulator ARCEP to access spectrum necessary for service provision in the country.   (Source: Starlink's website).
Starlink users in Benin will need to pay $5 per month to the regulator ARCEP to access spectrum necessary for service provision in the country.
(Source: Starlink's website).

Additionally, users will need to pay CFA3,125 ($5) per month to the regulator ARCEP (Autorité de Régulation des Communications Electroniques et des Postes) to access the electromagnetic spectrum necessary for service provision.

Starlink 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 African expansion

Benin now joins the expanding list of African nations that have access to Starlink, including Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia, with more countries expected to join the list in due course.

In line with its African expansion plans, Starlink recently partnered with e-commerce company Jumia to sell its Internet equipment for residential use on the continent.

That partnership will see Jumia sell Starlink satellite terminals in selected African nations.

Furthermore, in September 2023, pan-African telco, data center and network services provider Paratus Group also announced it had signed a reseller agreement to provide Starlink's services across the continent.

The only other country that might still get Starlink services in 2023 is Togo, as most launch windows have been scheduled for 2024.

According to Starlink, 20 countries including Ghana, Senegal, Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Egypt have planned launches in 2024.

However, South Africa, Ethiopia, Algeria, Mali, and Sudan still have unconfirmed launch dates.

Even though there has been some hype regarding Starlink's African entry, the company is still facing pricing and regulatory barriers in Africa.

Related posts:

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

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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