Our friends over at ZimPriceCheck made an interesting discovery. Zimbabweans can now place pre-orders for Elon Musk’s satellite internet service Starlink. If you have a USD prepaid card as well as US$99 burning a hole in your pocket you can place your order now but…
What is Starlink?
For starters, the service isn’t fully up yet. It’s in beta in North America and is basically a bunch of satellites constructed by SpaceX that will deliver the internet world.
The service promises to deliver internet to areas that would otherwise be overlooked or are yet to be served by ISPs. All you’ll need is the kit from Starlink and you’ll be ready to go wherever you are.
Starlink is essentially VSAT but not quite as expensive when it comes to set up costs. VSAT in Zimbabwe is also really technical and you’d need someone from the service provider to set it up. With Starlink most of the gear is plug and play and it includes a Starlink satellite, Wi-Fi router, power supply, cables and a tripod.
The equipment package whenever the service comes to Zimbabwe will cost around US$500. Granted half of a thousand is really expensive but if you live in an area without a service provider it’s a lot cheaper than VSAT.
On the Starlink website it says that the service will have low latency for ZOOM and online gaming. This means it’s pulling speeds north of what people on VSAT are getting here in Zim. One testimonial on the ISP’s website reads:
“We relied on dsl (tops out at 2.5mbs) and wireless (tops out at 3.5mbs) for over 15 years. Your service is blazing fast and we have been daydreaming of this for a long, long, time now!”
No exact speeds but they seem to be happy with the service. Also, this could be a PR thing but we can give Starlink the benefit of the doubt and say it may be quicker than VSAT in Zim.
And the service will cost US$99 a month. Which is cheaper than any uncapped package on offer here.
If it comes to Zimbabwe it’ll have to register with POTRAZ
So like with anything that wants to enter a new market it will have to register with the local authority. This is no different for Zimbabwe, for Starlink to operate here then it will have to go POTRAZ and register as an ISP.
This isn’t as big a hurdle as you might think because Starlink last month was in talks with the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA). And with preorders are now open in SA it stands to reason that there wasn’t much of an issue with the registration process.
You can check out the Starlink site with the link here.