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Connectivity

Cameroon seizes Starlink kits at the border – reports

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Cameroonian authorities have banned the import of Starlink satellite Internet kits into the Central African country and have started seizing the equipment at the border, according to media reports.

The reported ban on imported equipment from Starlink, which is owned by Elon Musk's SpaceX, comes after Cameroonian authorities voiced concerns regarding both national security and unfair competition.

According to the website Betatinz, the director general of Cameroon Customs, Fongod Edwin Nuvaga, told authorities that the equipment provides an unlimited and ultra-fast Internet connection and escapes the control of the Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ART).

Furthermore, according to ITWeb Africa, Nuvaga told customs authorities that the confiscation operation will continue until Starlink is regulated in the country.

Cameroon Posts and Telecommunications Minister Minette Libom Li Likeng has meanwhile raised concerns over Starlink's entry into Cameroon, indicating that its unlicensed operations pose a security threat to the country.

The reported ban comes ahead of Starlink's scheduled discontinuation of service in regions where it is not yet licensed to operate, including Cameroon, on April 30, 2024.

Starlink in Africa

On the African continent, Starlink has made entry in several African countries including Benin, Nigeria, Rwanda, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia.

However, even with such strides, it was only last week that Ghana's National Communications Authority (NCA) approved Starlink's application to offer satellite broadband services in Ghana.

The ban comes ahead of Starlink's scheduled discontinuation of service in regions where it is not yet licensed to operate, including Cameroon, on April 30, 2024.  (Source: Starlink's website)
The ban comes ahead of Starlink's scheduled discontinuation of service in regions where it is not yet licensed to operate, including Cameroon, on April 30, 2024.
(Source: Starlink's website)

Also a week ago, Africa Mobile Networks Group (AMN) announced that its first basestation in Nigeria to connect to SpaceX’s Starlink constellation was now live and using the LEO satellite network for backhaul connectivity.

While Starlink has been making headways in other African countries, it has been finding it difficult to enter others. The company, which offers high-speed, low-latency Internet connectivity worldwide through low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, is still prohibited in Botswana and South Africa.

In February, Starlink cut off hundreds of South African users over alleged trademark and copyright violations.

Also in February, the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) warned the public against the importation, use and resale of Starlink's devices in the country, saying that those who ignore the rules will be penalized.


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Elon Musk's Starlink does not have a license in Botswana after its application was turned down on February 2, 2024.

In November, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) cautioned companies against importing and selling Starlink satellite Internet terminals in South Africa, calling the practice illegal and warning that fines could be imposed.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Image by www.slon.pics on Freepik.

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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