- StarSat Africa, a Mozambique-based importer of Starlink in South Africa, plans to reduce prices for Starlink equipment by between 13% and 20% towards the end of February 2024.
- This prospective price cut comes after the parent company of Starlink, SpaceX, recently introduced a discount on bulk orders.
- This development comes despite Starlink's ban by South Africa's communications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).
The satellite connectivity vendor disclosed that it’ll be cutting its current price of R14,999 ($789.56) for Starlink units to somewhere between R12,000 ($631.69) and R13,000 ($684.33). StarSat Africa’s price includes all shipping, VAT, and import fees.
According to the company, the price slash might be lower than the expected range, but it must consider all the operating charges and government fees.
StarSat provides satellite internet services to several African countries as part of its mission to close the digital gap in the tech landscape of Southern Africa and beyond. Besides South Africa, StarSat Africa also imports and delivers Starlink kits to 17 sub-Saharan African countries, including Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Kenya.
Rwanda is currently the most affordable country in Africa to purchase a Starlink kit, costing 485,000 Rwandan francs ($377). The remaining seven African nations where Starlink conducts business have prices ranging from $389 to $631.
South Africans can buy these kits at lower prices in any of these countries and import them to South Africa, but they will still have to pay additional taxes and shipping fees.
With Starsat Africa receiving overwhelmingly high demand, the turnaround time for Starlink kit orders now takes up to 4 months. The company claims to have a back order of about 300 units for Namibia and 72 for South Africa, excluding the 300 other units from the Black Friday orders billed to arrive soon.
The company hopes to fulfil all backlogs before the end of March, after which customers can expect to get their orders two days after delivery.
ICASA has warned that until Starlink obtains the required operating and spectrum licence, using the service in the country is illegal. The alerts must have gone unheeded, with over 14,000 StarSat users in South Africa utilising Starlink.
While not officially sanctioned in the country, Starlink’s roaming services are available across South Africa.
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Icasa is not the only African regulatory authority to have banned Starlink. Recently, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has partnered with the police to kick off a countrywide raid to stop defaulters.
In December 2023, Ghana’s telco regulator, the National Communication Authority, also declared Starlink illegal and directed anyone in Ghana using services or involved in the sales to stop immediately.
Botswana has also denied Starlink's application to operate in the country due to “missing requirements” in its application.