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StarLink relief for Zimbabwe’s frustrated internet users

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Zimbabwe , 23 Jan 2023
Starlink - satellite broadband internet service - is now available in Kenya.
Starlink - satellite broadband internet service - is now available in Kenya.

Zimbabweans are confident of faster, more reliable internet connectivity later this year after Elon Musk confirmed the country would be connected to Space X’s StarLink.

According to the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz), mobile data remains expensive and while there are a few broadband and fibre connectivity companies, adoption is mostly out of reach for cash-strapped consumers and dominated by corporate.

Local IT expert Tavonga Zindonda said, “StarLink coming To Zimbabwe is great news in terms of coverage capabilities and its even cheaper in the long run and also brings faster and reliable internet.”

Former Managing Director of NetOne, Reward Kangai, tweeted that the “imminent debut of StarLink will further greatly improve Internet connectivity” in Zimbabwe.

“It being satellite-based, will greatly complement terrestrial mobile network coverage and fixed wireline or fibre connectivity.”

Zimbabweans continue to bemoan the high cost of data and internet tariffs from current operators, as well as sluggish connectivity. Operators argue that the tariffs are a result of high operating costs.

Ongoing network outages have also impacted user experience and several telecommunication service providers are investing in hybrid batteries and solar power.

This could be an advantage for StarLink in that it is able to leverage a satellite platform.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an executive from a local ISP said: “Obviously this is new competition for the current industry players. We already have first-mover advantage and we now have a thorough understanding of the local market so obviously we will look to re-adjust strategies where necessary.”

Confirmation of StarLink in Zimbabwe comes on the back of news that Mozambique and Zambia will be connected in Q2 this year.

While several countries expect to be connected this year and next, some are yet to receive confirmation including Algeria, Chad, Ethiopia and South Africa. 

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