Home » After expanding to 99 countries, Elon Musk’s Starlink secures approval in Zimbabwe

After expanding to 99 countries, Elon Musk’s Starlink secures approval in Zimbabwe

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Elon Musk

Key Points:

    • Starlink, Elon Musk’s satellite Internet service, receives regulatory nod in Zimbabwe, heralding a new era of connectivity.
    • President Mnangagwa hails Starlink’s entry, promising nationwide high-speed internet access through IMC Communications partnership. 

    • Despite previous regulatory tensions, Starlink perseveres, expanding across Africa, and connecting millions with its constellation of satellites.

With over 3 million customers in 99 countries, Elon Musk’s Starlink, the satellite Internet service provided by SpaceX, has secured regulatory approval to operate in Zimbabwe, marking a significant milestone in the country’s digital transformation efforts. 

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the approval, highlighting that Starlink’s entry will provide high-speed internet connectivity throughout the nation. This partnership is poised to deploy low-cost, high-speed, low-Earth-orbit (LEO) internet infrastructure, addressing the longstanding connectivity challenges in Zimbabwe’s rural areas.

Starlink gets regulatory nod in Zimbabwe, set to shake up local internet

Starlink’s entry into Zimbabwe is poised to disrupt the nation’s internet landscape, following approval from the government. President Mnangagwa confirmed that service will be delivered exclusively through IMC Communications, Starlink’s designated local partner.

This approval marks a turning point after a period of regulatory friction. Zimbabwean authorities previously clamped down on unauthorized Starlink users who obtained kits through unofficial channels in neighboring countries, like Zambia. The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) even mandated the suspension of Starlink operations due to a lack of proper licensing.

The move reflects the broader regulatory complexities it has encountered across Africa. In South Africa, for example, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) directed IT LEC, the sole Starlink kit importer, to cease importation activities. Despite such challenges, Starlink has remained resolute in its pursuit of continental expansion.

From Fiji to Rwanda: Starlink connects the world

Launched in Africa in 2022, Starlink has rapidly expanded its footprint, with Elon Musk emphasizing the company’s commitment to operating wherever legally permitted. 

The service boasts an impressive constellation of nearly 6,000 satellites, with over 5,200 currently operational, delivering internet access to 3 million subscribers across 99 countries and territories. This milestone was celebrated following Starlink’s launch in the Republic of Fiji, covering more than 300 islands.

Additionally, Starlink has received a license from the Rwanda Space Agency to launch its services in Rwanda, further expanding its African footprint. As Starlink continues its global expansion, its innovative technology promises to bring reliable internet access to even the most remote regions, fostering connectivity and development worldwide.

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