Starlink ordered to shutdown its services in Zimbabwe


Elon Musk’s internet connectivity company, Starlink is experiencing torrid times in Africa as the government of Zimbabwe has ordered the company to shut down its services in the country. This is according to a mail sent by the company to its users across the country. In the mail, the company said it has been ordered to shut down it’s services by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).

The company, however, said it will continue to work with the regulator to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to turn on Starlink services in Zimbabwe as soon as possible. It also encourage users  to contact the POTRAZ to communicate their support for Starlink so as to help convince the regulator to grant the necessary regulatory approvals in Zimbabwe.

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“You are currently using Starlink in an unauthorised territory, As a result. Starlink has been directed by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) to disable your service. As described In your Terms of Service, Starlink does not guarantee when or where its Mobile or Mobile Priority Services Plans will be available. Use of such services Is dependent on many factors, including obtaining or maintaining the necessary regulatory approvals which are subject to change,” the mail reads in part.

Elon Musk’s Starlink has continued to experience tough times in various parts of Africa as it looks to deepen its foothold across the continent. While it had been quickly accepted in countries like Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, it has experienced difficulties in South Africa where the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa(ICASA), the country’s telecoms regulator, has ordered IT Lec, the sole importer of Starlink kits, to cease the importation.

Although SpaceX, makers of Starlink, are yet to secure an operational license, IT LEC found a workaround for its customers. But now, the ISP has been warned to abandon this workaround in a strongly-worded notice by the ICASA.

It’s most-recent backlash came in Botswana where the importation, use and sale of its kits and services was officially prohibited by the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA). The prohibition also came with a warning of legal repercussions for those who defy the ban.

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On February 2, 2024, BOCRA rejected Starlink’s application to operate in Botswana, citing the company’s failure to meet all requirements. In an email statement, BOCRA emphasized that Starlink has not authorized any entity to import or resell its Internet kits in Botswana. Offenders will be committing an offence, although the specific charges remain undisclosed.

The company also faced regulatory squabbles in Ghana although Ghanaian authorities have assured the public that it would grant the internet company a licence once it fulfills all regulatory requirements.

See also: Botswana bans Starlink, imposes consequences for violators

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