Zimbabwe reviewing Starlink licence application – Official

Zimbabwe reviewing Starlink licence application – Official

By Agencies

Zimbabwe’s telecommunications regulator is processing an application by global satellite internet provider Starlink for a licence to operate in the country, a senior official has said.

Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) director general Gift Machengete said the American-owned service provider has lodged an application with the regulator for a licence to legally operate in the southern African country.

“Currently, we are in the process of looking at their application. So, in short, we have not banned them,” Machengete said.

He explained that POTRAZ had simply requested StarLink to switch off locals who were using its terminals illegally as it could not allow lawlessness.

In January POTRAZ warned that individuals and businesses discovered distributing and advertising equipment to access Starlink internet services could face arrest.

According to the official, there was nothing peculiar about StarLink that warranty POTRAZ blocking it from operating in Zimbabwe as the country already has a licensed geostationary satellite.

“We are technology-neutral and already we have a geostationary satellite. These (StarLink) are just the other satellite service providers and we already have geostationary satellites licensed in the country so there is no way we would be seen blocking StarLink because we are technology-neutral.”

Zimbabwe is among several African countries, including neighbouring South Africa, that have not yet licensed the Starlink service.

However, trade in Starlink kits has continued in Zimbabwe via social media platforms despite the warning.