StarSat Africa, a major importer of Starlink kits to South Africa, is set to slash prices by 13-20% over the coming weeks due to SpaceX’s bulk price reductions, per reports on Tuesday.
The latest reductions in equipment price will see the current R14,999 kit price drop to R12,000-R13,000, aligning more closely with the United States and United Kingdom prices.
According to the company, the move aims to make Starlink more accessible in 17 Sub-Saharan African countries despite the legal issues facing the Elon Musk-led company in Southern Africa.
More on the report
According to a MyBroadband report, StarSat Africa, a major importer of kits to South Africa plans to reduce its equipment prices by between 13% and 20% (from R14,999 to between R12,000 and R13,000) over the next few weeks.
Referring to additional surcharges levied by the governments of Eswatini and Lesotho, the company said:
“It might even be lower, but we have to work in a lot of [fee] hurdles these days.”
The company said the significant discount was possible due to SpaceX reducing prices on bulk Starlink purchases. StarSat Africa’s price will now be more closely aligned with the US Starlink kit price of $599 (R11,379) and £449 (R10,750) in the UK.
StarSat Africa’s price includes all shipping, VAT, and import fees and will confirm its final new pricing towards the end of February 2024.
StarSat Africa confirms its back order of about 300 units in Namibia and 72 in South Africa. The company however says the backlogs should be resolved by the end of March, from when customers can expect a turnaround time of 48 hours from ordering to delivery, in contrast to the current period of four months.
In addition to South Africa, StarSat Africa offers the import and delivery of Starlink units to 17 Sub-Saharan African countries, including Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
In exchange for using its services, StarSat Africa offers a two-year warranty on all equipment failures with a two-day priority delivery turnaround for the new unit. For damages outside provisions of the warranty, like hail or lightning, the replacement price applies, but a kit will be made available immediately for a swap.
Starlink usage in South Africa
The use of Starlink in South Africa has experienced a notable surge despite warnings from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa).
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) declared the use of Starlink illegal due to pending regulatory requirements. This announcement aimed to dissuade consumers from utilising Starlink until the company secures local licensing.
Despite Icasa’s regulatory measures, South African consumers continue to acquire Starlink kits from vendors in neighbouring markets where the service is legally available.
Two prominent companies facilitating the import and activation of Starlink for South Africans are IcasaSePush and Starsat Africa. They both operate out of Mozambique to sidestep potential legal conflicts with Icasa which maintains that the use or provision of Starlink in South Africa is illegal.
According to a MyBroadband report, over 14,000 Starlink kits were imported into the country in 2023, despite the fact that the service is not officially approved. Also, IcasaSePush disclosed receiving around 200 Starlink queries daily and expressed optimism about selling more than 600 kits monthly by the end of January 2024. StarSat Africa, facing legal action from Icasa, claimed to have retained a substantial customer base, with over 12,000 sign-ups as of November 2023.
In light of South Africa’s power crisis, consumers have turned to Starlink’s low-latency and high-speed service. As the demand for Starlink in South Africa continues to rise, the intersection of global technological advancements and local regulatory intricacies shapes the trajectory of the satellite internet service’s presence in the country.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!