Zim’s Starlink availability still ‘unknown’ as Nigeria takes off
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has selected Nigeria to be the first African country to receive its Starlink satellite internet service.
This week, SpaceX announced the availability of the satellite internet service in the West African country.
However, though Zimbabweans have been waiting for the service in the country since 2021, the Starlink coverage map shows the date for the service’s availability in the country is still “unknown”.
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, providing satellite internet access coverage to 47 countries.
It also aims for global mobile phone service after 2023. SpaceX started launching Starlink satellites in 2019.
Of late, Starlink has hogged the limelight for providing a critical communication lifeline to Ukraine’s government and civilians despite persistent Russian bombing of traditional telecommunication infrastructures across the war-ravaged country.
Expectations were high among locals that South African-born Musk would prioritise his country of birth with providing the connectivity solution.
In Zimbabwe, satellite connectivity is expected to play a critical role in connecting remote and rural areas frequently shunned by fibre and LTE providers, which do not see the business case in investing in those locations.
“Starlink is now available in Nigeria – the first African country to receive service!” SpaceX said in a tweet this week.
Nigerian publication Vanguard reports that the country’s minister of communication, Isa Pantami, last week indicated Nigeria achieved 100% broadband coverage with the licensing of SpaceX’s Starlink.
It adds that Starlink is available in all remote areas of Nigeria and with an internet speed of 50Mbps to 200Mbps.
For example, according to the live map, Zimbawe’s Southern African peers Mozambique will get Starlink in the second quarter of 2023, Namibia (starting 2024)and Angola (Q2 2023).
Other African countries with “unknown” Starlink availability statuses include south Africa, Algeria, Libya, Niger, Ethiopia and Sudan, among others.
SpaceX, in 2023, had opened pre-orders for the internet connectivity platform to Zimbabweans.
However, this was pushed back, as a result of the global semiconductor shortage spurred by COVID-19 lockdowns.