Government Awaits Potraz Decision on Starlink’s Operations in Zimbabwe

Tatenda Mavetera Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services
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HARARE – Zimbabwe’s government is in anticipation of a verdict from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) regarding Starlink’s application to operate within the country, as stated by a Cabinet minister.

Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Tatenda Mavetera, disclosed to Parliament last week that Potraz is still in the process of evaluating the licensing request from the American internet giant.

Despite numerous entities, including companies, parastatals, and individuals, utilizing Starlink’s services, Zimbabwe has refrained from granting the company an official license, citing “security reasons.”

Insider sources, according to News Day, reveal ongoing discussions between government representatives and Starlink officials.

During a parliamentary session, Mavetera emphasized the government’s openness to embracing new technologies to bolster Zimbabwe’s digital infrastructure.

“We are very much open to any other technologies to ensure that we enhance our digital footprint as a country. Starlink has applied, and we are awaiting Potraz’s final decision on the licensing process,” stated Mavetera.

The government’s assurance of eventual licensing for Starlink contrasts with recent crackdowns on individuals utilizing the service illegally.

A Chinese mining company in Guruve, San He, incurred a US$700 fine for unauthorized use of Starlink equipment, while Zambezi Boutique (Private) Limited in Victoria Falls faced a US$500 fine for similar violations.

Furthermore, Neville, the son of Women’s Affairs Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, faced arrest over allegations of illegal foreign currency trading and possession of Starlink equipment.

Starlink, operational in various African nations like Nigeria, Mozambique, and Kenya, provides faster speeds and lower latency, particularly benefiting remote areas reliant on satellite and cellular internet connections. Compared to local providers, Starlink offers more cost-effective, unlimited, and swifter internet services.