Starlink introduces Global Roaming which means you can technically use it in Zimbabwe now

Leonard Sengere Avatar
Starlink satellites 12,000 Pr

The past few weeks have been characterised by network disruptions. Liquid and Econet seem to be competing to see who can irritate their customers the most. We are all now familiar with core network disruptions and fibre breaks.

If we’re being honest, it’s not just been the past few weeks, it’s been years of subpar service. The network operators have not denied this. They point to the prevailing economic conditions in the country as if to say, ‘check mate.’ We are done caring.

To rub salt into the wound, a tariff increase was sandwiched between a couple of nationwide outages for the Econet group. From the comments we have been getting, it seems the boat is not as rocky in NetOne-world. Unfortunately for me and many others, we are not having the same experience.

This is why many are looking at Starlink with wide eyes. I am sure there is a significant number of people awaiting the coming of Starlink more than the second coming of Jesus. If you’re not familiar with the satellite internet company, acquaint yourself with it here.

From what we have seen, Starlink is offering much faster speeds at a much lower cost than we are getting in Zimbabwe. The standard Starlink service costs $110 per month for unlimited data at speeds in the 100Mbps range. These are real-world speeds, not theoretical.

Do note that Starlink pricing is changing. It’s going to be $120 for users in limited-capacity areas and $90 for those in excess-capacity areas. We shall know more about this in due time. Do also remember that’s after a once-off $600 cost to get the necessary hardware.

Unfortunately for us here in Zimbabwe, Starlink is not yet available. We have been reaching out to our regulator, the Postal and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to find out what they think about Starlink.

Starlink has plans to come to Zimbabwe this year and so the ball is in Potraz’s corner. Will they allow the disruptor to compete in Zimbabwe? Potraz is being coy with the answer.

Global Roaming

While we wait to see how that all goes, we now have a bit of good news. You can technically use Starlink in Zimbabwe now.

Starlink introduced a service they are calling Global Roaming which allows their customers to use the service wherever they may be on mother Earth. As long as they are on land.

We have to remember that Starlink uses satellites and so is technically already available in every country. It’s just the regulatory approval they need to properly set up shop. As reported by Ars Technica, the following was in an email sent to some Starlink customers,

Global Roaming makes use of Starlink’s inter-satellite links (aka space lasers) to provide connectivity around the globe. As this is a new technology, you can expect Starlink’s typical high-speed, low latency service intermixed with brief periods of poor connectivity, or none at all. However, this will improve dramatically over time.

Before this Global Roaming, users could only use the service on the continent on which they registered. Now, aside from a rocky experience, users can use it wherever they want, including in Zimbabwe.

Starlink is not looking to skirt regulatory approval and so you won’t be buying Starlink hardware in Zimbabwe above board until Potraz licenses it. They clearly say, “Global Roaming services are contingent on regulatory approvals.”

That may be but it looks like if you import the Starlink equipment from abroad you can enjoy the service. We don’t know if this will work but it just may. It’s been reported that at least two of the people that got emails to try out Global Roaming live in areas where Starlink is not authorised to operate in.

It would be illegal if you did this but it looks like if our Ximex brothers get the equipment in, you would be good to go.

It’s a bit expensive at the moment

The Global Roaming plan costs $200 per month after the initial $600 for the equipment. That’s before shipping and potential seizures at the border.

If we set aside the $600 equipment fee, the $200 monthly fee is not that bad for what it promises to deliver.

Right now the cheapest Liquid Home unlimited package costs around $150 (ZW$149,855). We just found out that on these Liquid Fibronix packages one can expect speeds of around 9Mbps. Contrast that with the real-world 100Mbps speeds Starlink users are getting.

You have to ask yourself if you need the faster speeds and if you do, is the $50 premium worth the jump from 10 to 100? Let’s be honest, for most people 10Mbps is good enough for 99% of their use cases.

That’s all a mental exercise at the moment though. Starlink is not yet licensed to operate in the country. When (if?) it does come officially, it will be a no brainer, even if the whole of Zimbabwe is classified as a limited-capacity area where users have to pay $120 a month.

What do you think about all this? Some have said they are saving up for their Starlink equipment. I gotta admit, I kind of am too. Would you mess around with the Global Roaming service though if Potraz delays licensing Starlink? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read:

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has confirmed Starlink is coming to Zimbabwe this year. South Africa’s date is still unknown

Elon Musk’s Starlink launches Premium US$500 for 500Mbps package

Ukraine got Starlink satellite internet. Can the Russians attack it?



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  1. Kirie

    It’s the second line of the article for me 🤣 Surely these guys were competing to see who could irritate us the most seems they drew!

    1. Isaac

      😂 couldn’t have said any better

  2. fireboy and watergirl

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  4. Anonymous

    Yep, already saving up the $600. Let’s hope we don’t get “gatekeeped”

  5. Anonymous

    Saving for starlink

  6. Jays

    On the 2nd line; Telone takes the cup .

  7. Sir Zimbabwe

    Good move,

    1. Anonymous

      And what happens to our own Zimbabwean companies? Its not really a good idea.

  8. Ziggy

    Zim will be the last to get it..Potraz will delay approval coz it will force other providers to reduce pricing which i dont see it haplening…Econet Zol nana Telone vachamama

  9. Mfudzi weMombe

    We just need variety in Zim, there is need of competition, now econet see itself as the race master in telecommunications, so whatever it offers seem to be better yet its mediocre. So lets Starlink get into track so that there is real competition and let the Gold go to the best performer.
    Lets not POTRAZ try to protect poor performers.

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