Starlink gets approval for operations in Zimbabwe

  • President Emmerson Mnangagwa approved Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite business to operate in Zimbabwe following the telecom regulator’s endorsement.
  • Deployment of high-speed, low-cost LEO internet infrastructure in Zimbabwe, with emphasis on rural areas, is expected.
  • Starlink will provide services in Zimbabwe through its exclusive local partner, IMC Communications.

Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe recently announced the approval of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite business to operate in the southern African country, following the endorsement by a telecom regulator. This decision is poised to bring about a transformation in internet connectivity, particularly focusing on deploying high-speed, cost-effective low-earthearth-orbit (LEO) internet infrastructure across Zimbabwe, with a special emphasis on rural areas.

Strategic partnership with IMC Communications

Starlink’s services will be facilitated through its exclusive local partner, IMC Communications, in Zimbabwe. This partnership is expected to revolutionise the internet landscape in the country and make significant strides in bridging the digital divide.

Internet accessibility challenges

Highlighting the existing internet accessibility challenges in Zimbabwe, a 2021 World Bank report revealed that only 34.8% of the population had access to the internet. With the dominance of three major mobile network operators in the country’s internet sector, the need for enhanced connectivity solutions becomes increasingly crucial.

Also read: Interlink Telecom Q1 profits soar 113%, subsidiary BLUE’s IPO approved

Government crackdown and regulatory compliance

The approval for Starlink’s operations comes at a time when the Zimbabwean government is cracking down on unregistered users smuggling Starlink kits from neighbouring countries like Zambia. This underscores the importance of regulatory compliance and adherence to licensing protocols in the telecommunications sector.

Also read: Thailand’s NBTC faces challenges amid telecommunications industry turmoil

Pan-African expansion of Starlink

While Starlink is already operational in several African nations, including Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, and Malawi, its official entry into Zimbabwe marks a significant milestone in the company’s pan-African expansion strategy. However, challenges have arisen in some countries where Starlink operates without the necessary licenses, as seen in Cameroon’s recent seizure of Starlink equipment at its ports of entry.


Summer Ren

Summer Ren is an intern reporter at BTW Media, covering tech trends. She graduated from Cardiff University and had experience in the financial industry as well as video production skills. Send tips to

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