Starlink secures licence in Botswana nearly four months after initial rejection

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May 29, 2024
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2 min read
Starlink dish
  • Botswana has granted a licence to SpaceX's Starlink to operate in the country, nearly four months after its application was rejected for failing to provide all of the required information. 
  • The country’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has asked regulators to expedite the licence approval process.
  • According to a report, on May 8, 2024, Botswana's president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, met with SpaceX executives who expressed an interest in obtaining an operational licence at a business summit in the United States.

This development will improve the country's Internet connectivity. With a population of slightly over 2.7 million, the country had nearly 2.1 million Internet users and a 61% Internet penetration rate as of January 2024. 

Following the rejection of its application in Botswana in February 2024, Starlink emailed its roaming customers in April to inform them that by the end of the month, its services would be unavailable in regions where it had not yet been authorised. 

The Internet provider has licences to operate in 12 African countries, including Botswana, Zimbabwe, Benin, Ghana, Eswatini, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. 

It was granted a licence in Zimbabwe a few days ago following the arrest of a politician's son, Neville Mutsvangwa, on charges of illegally possessing a Starlink terminal and violating the Postal and Telecommunications Act. 

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Meanwhile, before approval, Zimbabweans had devised ways to use the satellite Internet provider by disguising the kits as everyday items, such as outdoor lighting or solar panels, to avoid prosecution by the government. 

Besides, on May 16, 2024, over 90 groups in Sudan's war-torn country expressed concern that the possible shutdown of Starlink would have a "disproportionate impact on civilians and aid organisations trying to reach them." 

The Ministry of Communications filed a complaint demanding the termination of the internet provider's services due to the company's lack of prior licences, following the announcement of Starlink’s plans to leave the country on April 30 due to telco objections.


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