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Starlink beams into Madagascar

Article Image
SpaceX's satellite Internet service, Starlink, has launched its high-speed, low-latency Internet service in Madagascar.

The announcement comes two months after Elon Musk's broadband service company obtained an agreement from the Malagasy government to launch its commercial services in Madagascar.

In a post on X, Starlink announced that its high-speed, low-latency Internet was now fully operational.

Starlink's LEO satellite services are expected to extend broadband connectivity to disadvantaged users in remote parts of the southwestern Indian Ocean island, located off the coast of Mozambique.

Starlink's website shows that, for Malagasy users, the hardware will cost 1,120,000 Malagasy Ariary (US$ 250.47) and the monthly subscription fee is MGA 226,000 ($50.54) per month. The company offers a 30-day trial with no contracts or data caps and estimates shipping times to be two weeks.

Starlink African headways

Starlink has been making progress with its expansion plans on the African continent, and it's likely more countries will soon follow in the footsteps of Madagascar. This is because countries like Botswana and Zimbabwe recently granted operating licenses to Starlink. Just last month, its services went live in the West African country of Sierra Leone.

Starlink's website shows that, for Malagasy users, the hardware will cost 1,120,000 Malagasy Ariary (US$ 250.47) and the monthly subscription fee is MGA 226,000 ($50.54) per month.  (Source: Image by on Freepik)
Starlink's website shows that, for Malagasy users, the hardware will cost 1,120,000 Malagasy Ariary (US$ 250.47) and the monthly subscription fee is MGA 226,000 ($50.54) per month.
(Source: Image by on Freepik)

Other than Madagascar, Starlink also operates in several African countries including Benin, Nigeria, Rwanda, Malawi, Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia. In the beginning of April, Ghana's National Communications Authority (NCA) also approved Starlink's application of to offer satellite broadband services.

Be that as it may, it has not been all sunshine and roses for the Elon Musk-owned company: In late 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. Although a few southern African countries welcome Starlink, its future in South Africa is unclear.

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

In February, 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) 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 is of Starlink availability map showing that Madagascar has Starlink services. (Source: Starlink's website.)

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Image by on Freepik

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