Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Connectivity

Zimbabwe approves Starlink licensing

Article Image
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has approved the licensing of Elon Musk's Starlink, allowing the satellite unit of SpaceX to operate in the southern African country.

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on a social network post on X citing that the decision is expected to result in the deployment of high speed, low cost, LEO (low Earth orbit) Internet infrastructure throughout Zimbabwe and particularly in all the rural areas.

Mnangagwa said Starlink will operate through IMC Communications which will be the country's sole and exclusive local partner.

Starlink's approval comes two weeks after the Zanu PF's spokesperson's son, Neville Mutsvangwa, was arrested on charges of illegally possessing a Starlink terminal and violating the Postal and Telecommunications Act.

The use of Starlink has been illegal in Zimbabwe since January 2024, when POTRAZ reportedly announced plans to arrest individuals and businesses found distributing and advertising the devices. However, even with the ban, people in Zimbabwe continued to find new ways to use Starlink.

Following the regulator's directive, in April 2024, Starlink warned its Zimbabwean users that it would disable its roaming service.

Starlink's African movements

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

Starlink will operate through IMC Communications which will be Zimbabwe's sole and exclusive local partner.   (Source: Image by wirestock on Freepik.)
Starlink will operate through IMC Communications which will be Zimbabwe's sole and exclusive local partner.
(Source: Image by wirestock on Freepik.)

Furthermore, with Zimbabwe's announcement it seems that SpaceX's satellite Internet service is making progress on the continent.

Earlier this month Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi met with Starlink executives who expressed an interest in obtaining an operational license in the country.

However, even with Masisi's meeting, the satellite Internet service still doesn't have a license to operate in Botswana, South Africa and Cameroon.

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

Meanwhile, at the beginning of April Ghana's National Communications Authority (NCA) approved Starlink's application to offer satellite broadband services in Ghana.

Even with such headwinds and sometimes pitfalls on the continent, South Africa remains a bone of contention where Starlink is concerned.

In February 2024, Starlink cut off hundreds of South African users over alleged trademark and copyright violations.

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

Related posts:

*Top image is of a Starlink satellite dish overlooking a mountain view. (Source: Starlink's website)

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Africa can leverage GenAI for economic growth – Microsoft

A whitepaper on generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) and the future of work has found that the African continent, with its young population, can leverage AI to drive economic growth.

Registration opens for Africa Tech Festival 2024

Registration has opened for the 2024 edition of Africa Tech Festival, the continent's leading platform for technology innovators, specialists and thought leaders.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Cyber Revolution Summit
August 9, 2024
Gaborone, Botswana
Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

How e-mobility could transform Africa's transport sector

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook delves into Africa's e-mobility sector and unpacks the challenges faced locally and the benefits the move to electric vehicles could bring to urban transport systems.

Story

Omdia View: April 2024

By Omdia Analysts

April 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included a license for Starlink in Ghana, new mobile termination rates in Ethiopia, and 6G trials in Bahrain – that and more in the latest Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002