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Botswana could get Starlink services

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Botswana could soon get Starlink services, after the country's President Mokgweetsi Masisi met with SpaceX's satellite Internet service executives who expressed an interest in obtaining an operating license in the country.

Masisi met with Starlink executives for discussions over global licensing and activation while in the US for a business summit this week.

The meeting with Starlink executives, follows the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) reportedly rejecting Starlink's application for a license in the country in February 2024.

At the time, the regulator said that, contrary to media reports, BOCRA had not rejected any satellite licensing applications.

"BOCRA informs the public that in line with good corporate governance practice coupled with the principle of confidentiality espoused in the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA Act, 2012), the Authority is not at liberty to discuss details of a license application with anyone else other than the applicant," Broadcasting and Corporate Communications Director Aaron Nyelesi said in a statement at the time.

However, two weeks later, Botswana banned the import, use and sale of Starlink kits or services within the country.

Starlink's African pursuits

Botswana is not the only country where Starlink services are illegal: Elon Musk's Starlink doesn't have a license to operate in South Africa, Zimbabwe or Cameroon either.

Late last month, Cameroonian authorities reportedly banned the import of Starlink satellite Internet kits into the Central African country and started seizing the equipment at the border.

In November 2023, The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) cautioned companies against importing and selling Starlink terminals in South Africa, calling the practice illegal and warning that fines could be imposed.

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi met Starlink executives while in the USA for a business summit this week.   (Source: Starlink's website)
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi met Starlink executives while in the USA for a business summit this week.
(Source: Starlink's website)

Despite such setbacks, Starlink has entered several African countries, including Benin, Nigeria, Rwanda, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique as well as Zambia.

Follow Connecting Africa on our new X account @connect__africa to get the latest telecoms and tech news across Africa.

Furthermore, in April 2024, Ghana's National Communications Authority (NCA) approved Starlink's application to offer satellite broadband services in Ghana.

Related posts:

*Top image is of Starlink Business Operations VP Lauren Dreyer shaking Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi's hands, flanked by Starlink Director for Global Licensing & Activation Ben MacWilliams and Starlink Global Licensing Activation Senior Director Ryan Goodnight. (Source: Botswana Presidency ).

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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