Starlink Licensed to Provide Internet Services in Zimbabwe

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HARARE, – Zimbabwe’s telecom regulator has granted a license to Elon Musk’s Starlink, allowing the SpaceX satellite unit to operate in the southern African nation, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Saturday.

The decision is anticipated to bring high-speed, low-cost, low-Earth-orbit (LEO) internet infrastructure across Zimbabwe, with a particular focus on rural areas, Mnangagwa stated. Starlink will offer its services through its exclusive local partner, IMC Communications.

A 2021 World Bank report indicated that only 34.8% of Zimbabwe’s population had internet access, with the market currently dominated by three major mobile network operators. The approval of Starlink comes as the government cracks down on unregistered users smuggling Starlink kits from neighboring countries such as Zambia.

Starlink is already officially available in various African nations, including Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, and Malawi. However, regulatory challenges persist; last month, Cameroon ordered the seizure of Starlink equipment at its ports of entry due to the provider’s unlicensed status.

In line with Vision 2030, the 2nd Republic’s developmental agenda prioritizes innovation, science, and technology as crucial pillars for progress, Zimbabwean President Mnangagwa said in a statement on X.

The increasing significance of the digital economy necessitates that the government fosters an environment conducive to technological investment.

In a significant development, the President has announced the approval of Starlink’s licensing by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).

Starlink, a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite operator owned by SpaceX and spearheaded by prominent billionaire Elon Musk, will provide advanced internet and digital services in Zimbabwe through its exclusive local partner, IMC Communications (Pvt) Ltd.

The introduction of Starlink into Zimbabwe’s digital telecommunications sector is poised to bring high-speed, low-cost LEO internet infrastructure across the nation, with a particular focus on rural areas.

This initiative aligns with the government’s commitment to ensuring that no one and no place is left behind. The confidence shown by Starlink in investing in Zimbabwe’s telecommunications infrastructure echoes the 2nd Republic’s mantra, “Zimbabwe is open for business.”

The President encourages further foreign investment in Zimbabwe, emphasizing the country’s status as a preferred investment destination.

On behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe, the President congratulates IMC Communications (Pvt) Ltd and Starlink on achieving this significant milestone. Such strategic investments are fundamental to realizing the 2nd Republic’s goal of transforming Zimbabwe into a fully digitalized, upper-middle-income economy by 2030.