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Elon Musk’s Starlink Asked to Halt Services in Zimbabwe Over Licensing

Elon Musk’s Starlink Asked to Halt Services in Zimbabwe Over Licensing

Elon Musk’s Starlink has suspended internet services to Zimbabwe until it obtains licensing approval from the country’s telecommunications regulator.

According to Gift Machengete, the director-general at the authority, the Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe instructed Starlink to disconnect all kits that were illegally operating in the southern African nation.

Last September, Zimbabwe issued a warning to Starlink users and resellers, stating that they must obtain the necessary licenses to operate legally.

To operate in the southern African country, the regulator proposed two options: the company can either apply directly for a license or collaborate with a registered public network within the country to offer its services.

“It’s 100% true that we have asked them to disable those that are connected until they regularize. This is illegal — how can we allow people to broadcast before they are licensed?” he said.


Machengete stated that he spoke directly with billionaire Musk, and requested that SpaceX, the parent company of Starlink, submit a formal application to provide services in Zimbabwe before any further action could be taken.

“It was a very cordial meeting and he understood what we are doing,” Machengete said. “I don’t think it will take a very long time once they have submitted.”

Starlink’s operation in Africa

Starlink’s operation in Africa has not been all rosy as it is facing regulatory challenges on the continent, where only 40% of its over 1.3 billion population have access to the internet, the lowest rate in the world.

Zimbabwe, along with neighbouring South Africa, is among several African nations that have not yet licensed the Starlink service.

Business Insider

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