There is a budding black market for Starlink kits in Zimbabwe

Leonard Sengere Avatar

We have seen what happens when there is a law that prohibits some product/behaviour that people really love and don’t believe is immoral. They will ignore the law and a black market will emerge to supply the banned thing.

History books tell us about Prohibition in the U.S. and how a black market for booze emerged with ruthless gangsters at its core. In our own lifetimes, we have seen the US dollar move to the streets when it was deemed illegal to deal in in Zimbabwe.

Starlink has not faced a ban, the Zimbabwean government has expressed a desire to regulate its licensing. This licensing process is taking too long for some individuals though, leading to the emergence of an unofficial market for Starlink kits.

You will recall that as early as April we reported that “Starlink is working in Zimbabwe for as low as US$53 per month…but there is a catch.” It does not matter that it hasn’t been licensed, if one is equipped with the kit it will work in the country.

All perfect conditions for a black market to spring up.

The Starlink kits

We scoured the internet for some of those people and found some interesting enterprising individuals. This being Zimbabwe, most of them have a presence on WhatsApp and Facebook primarily.

The cheapest seller we found is selling the Starlink kit for $700 and the most expensive is $2000. Most are in the $1400 range.

Do remember that the kit costs about $650 (inclusive of shipping and handling fees) in Mozambique. So, some of these sellers are charging way too much for the kits.

Monthly Subs

Remember, getting the kit is one thing. Paying your monthly subscription to get internet access is another. So, much like the SA DStv decoder sellers, these sellers will make the subscriptions for you in the country where your Starlink kit was activated.

If you do go down that route, not that we’re encouraging it, you might want to make the monthly payments yourself. You could always make use of a Mastercard/Visa card.

Some sellers, like the one above, will charge an outrageous $150 for monthly subs when Starlink requires only $47 in Mozambique, for example. Most sellers charge a reasonable $10 for the service if you require it.

Reactivation

Then there is the major issue regarding the requirement for Starlink kits to undergo reactivation in foreign countries where they have obtained licensing every two months.

One seller told us that this has not been an issue as one of their customers has had their kit for over 5 months and it has not needed reactivation.

Other sellers echoed the same, claiming the kits are going beyond the two months they should go for before undergoing reactivation.

That may be but if reactivation is needed, the sellers will assist with that too. You will have to take the kit down and send it away, outside the country.

The cheapest seller offers the service for free if you foot the transport bill. Some will charge for the reactivation exercise.

They have thought it all through.

Demand is there for all to see

Zimbabweans are fascinated by Starlink. The above shows that it’s not mere fascination but there is actual demand. The talking point is always that Zimbabweans cannot afford the $600 kit price but that’s not everybody.

With this kind of demand, some bad apples will also spring up. We have suspicions about some of the sellers we contacted. They required deposits upfront and did not have any kits on hand even though their social media posts claimed otherwise.

I would be surprised if there weren’t some people who paid those deposits and never got what they paid for. Remember, if you decide to go down this illegal route of acquiring Starlink kits on the black market and are swindled, you might not have any recourse.

The hope is that Starlink will be licensed in the country sooner rather than later. That way our people won’t have to go through these inconveniences to surf the web.

Also read:

Starlink working on getting smartphones to directly connect to its satellites

Former Min of ICT Supa should be ashamed for suggesting the government block Starlink over mean tweets about Zanu on X

Tell your MP that this is why people are excited about Starlink – access, affordability, reliability

,

28 comments

What’s your take?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Orbital Defense Platform

    Yah, some of those are a more than a bit much. But I guess where there is demand, there is a way 😅 The only cure is for ‘Vene Vayo’ to do the responsible thing for Zimbabweans.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Vene vayo can stop the madness. They may think the ball is in Starlink’s court but they should actively court those guys.

  2. Anonymous

    Whoa! Those guys on the black market are making a lot of money!

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Imagine.

  3. Shungurudzai

    I’m going to be off topic. I’m an Econet subscriber.

    On October 28, 2023, I was able to access the Internet even though I didn’t have a data bundle! I used the Internet between 19:23 and 21:55 for free! I think it was a technical glitch.

    1. changamire DOMBO

      I have been using netone data for free since september…its a bit slow but free lol

      1. Shungurudzai

        Wow! I’m going to reactivate my NetOne line soon. 🤣

  4. Anonymous

    I think even if the kit coats $600,many people will buy it(Of course if the monthly subscription is at or below $50USD) It’s actually cheaper and more beneficial in the long run to invest in the kit than pay a totally ridiculous $26 for 20GB Econet is offering or worse yet no data connectivity for those in rural areas.I haven’t done much research about the starlink kit bubi think if i can move it from one place to another and still be able to use it, it’s worth it investing the $600

  5. Space X

    I think even if the kit coats $600,many people will buy it(Of course if the monthly subscription is at or below $50USD) It’s actually cheaper and more beneficial in the long run to invest in the kit than pay a totally ridiculous $26 for 20GB Econet is offering or worse yet no data connectivity for those in rural areas.I haven’t done much research about the starlink kit bubi think if i can move it from one place to another and still be able to use it, it’s worth it investing the $600

  6. Anonymous

    Who is selling it for sub $1000 and how do I get in touch with them?

    1. Anony

      Good question, dont we all want an answer to this?

      1. SMOOTH

        I sell at $1200. Email me at underdogslumy@gmail.com @gmail.com

  7. Xxxx

    The roaming feature has been removed now that device registers under region where zimbabwe falls within that range so ya people are buying and easily activate and use in zimbabwe

    1. Nguema

      Please may you explain when u say the roaming have been removed. I bought and registered mine in Moza, 2 months period is around the corner and the pressure of sending it to Moza is kicking in now. I activated the roaming for additional 5$ i guess. So if it is removed what do i have to do?

  8. Junta

    Even if the cost of the kit is $1500 its way better than other service providers here in Zimbabwe the best we have Liquid is selling the kit for over $400 and now the monthly subscription for unlimited is over $200 per month with poor connection of 10mbps for wibronix. Starlink is cheaper, faster and the coverage is all over plus unofamba neinternet yako kwawada uri connected, which is the opposite neLiquid and othe ISPs.

  9. Ali

    Contact details for the cheapest one please.

  10. Robert Ndlovu

    Business is booming what do you expect ? LoL

    Well we warned POTRAZ long back about this so no suprizes here.

  11. The Tech guy

    Econet and its sister services providers are robbing us daily so even if it cost 3000 we will buy because it is worth it.
    Zim is a bad country, they don’t want international companies to fight with local companies for the benefit of the people.
    What is that?

  12. Lenard Francis

    With the cost of Internet these days, its no surprise that this is happening. When its bye-bye good-buy as far as and local ISP is concerned, then people will step in to meet the demand for a reasonably priced product.

  13. Anonymous

    Inonz offpeak data maiva naro

  14. Ajit

    Thank you for this article. I found the article the article informative and positive, the simple facts are on the ground and comments that were posted seem to sway even the most law abiding patriots of our beloved Zimbabwe
    What comes as no surprise is that portraz , the state and the industry would be slow to respond simply because their is nothing to gain , bureaucracy and greed present themselves respectively..
    If we are to move forward in a modern world , evolution comes from revolution
    Bad or good , the challenge is on the individual who chooses what’s best for him ,his family or his enterprise…

    1. Clephas MAkesha

      They are waiting for Starlink to pay these terrorist some kick backs before they license them.

  15. Anonymous

    Forewarned is forearmed 🙏

  16. martin

    Forewarned is forearmed 🙏

  17. Anonymous

    Was very interested in this article. Kindly take us through the legal process of acquiring this kit and to what extent can one be charged, a sentence of how long if found in possession and dealership of the kits. I have also seen such adverts but I had never realized its as deepm looking forward to the article.

  18. Anonymous

    Good competition is healthy it will help other network providers to up their game. Hw can we have internet service that struggles sending a whatsapp text message really when we should be running industrial systems virtually…shame on all zim mobile network providers.

  19. Anonymous

    I am selling the one for $700. Get in touch with me 0979494167(zambia)

  20. Jazinda

    connect us with local Starlink suppliers

2023 © Techzim All rights reserved. Hosted By Cloud Unboxed