Botswana latest Southern African country to block Starlink, situation not as bad as Zim and SA’s

Leonard Sengere Avatar

We do it different over here in Southern Africa. We were exploited once and we decided, no more. Starlink will not easily get our business – oh no sir.

Starlink was planning to launch in Botswana in the fourth quarter of 2024. They submitted their application way back in May 2023 and were hoping to be up and running in Q4 2024.

That launch period may need to be revised as Botswana rejected their application. Why?

There were issues regarding missing requirements with the application, which were identified and pointed out. They are yet to respond to the issues.

A Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority source told TechCabal

We do not know the exact missing requirements. Is it merely some missing information, is it some ownership structure problem or something else? We don’t know.

However, the fact that Starlink applied in the first place shows that whatever missing requirements there are, they are likely easy to rectify.

In South Africa, Starlink has not applied because they are not willing to give up 30% shareholding to locals. I don’t see Starlink ever becoming willing to relent on this one. It’s the government that will have to relent.

In Zimbabwe, Starlink has not applied because of reasons which may include the requirement to work with local internet access providers who don’t want to play ball or charge too much.

Or it could be that the Zim govt needs access to data and legal intercepts, for legit reasons of course, that Starlink is not willing to give up. Who knows?

In Botswana, Starlink must pay an application fee of the equivalent of $410, an annual license fee of up to about $28,500, and 3% of annual operating revenue. 

While Zimbabwe is not that much more expensive with an application fee of $50, annual licence fees of $50,000 and 3.5% of gross turnover, we have a history of politicians asking for their own annual fees which are usually higher than what the government collects.

While all this is going on, Starlink is already licensed in Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

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  1. Chinese zodiac

    I’m not keen in this tech things but as I take a look at this starlink thing , they is something amiss somewhere somehow . Something is fishy and the way our govt and and those of S. A and Bw are refusing it to enter our households I think it’s for our safety as a country , maybe they don’t meet security protocols of our country and those of S. A nad Bw

    1. Anon


    2. Truthteller

      Which security protocols. The government is not concerned about protecting you they are worried about their own pockets. Something regulated in USA Canada and first world countries what standards then can we talk about in Zim Botswana and SA. Starlink won’t pay those Facilitation fees government is used to.

      1. Zimbabwean

        …yourself bro.. starlink should respect our protocols

    3. Aikaka

      Coup yakangoitwa wani pasina Starlink!

    4. MiChina Ngaakwane

      Kwanai vakuru security ipi yamunoita muZimbabwe. It’s all about controlling our access to the outside world

    5. Inini

      CIA wants to monitor our data through starlink bcz most southern african countries work with russia and china so they probably want to counter huawei’s 5g

      1. Chin

        Meaning Hawei is spying on behalf of China? The hell, let them all come spy 🙂

        1. Karabo

          We don’t need those people, they need us, our land our rules, please reject 5g technology it is too bad

  2. Mukanya

    Starlink need to grease the palms of those….!

    1. Me

      Botswana is evolving into a dictatorship with Mosisi becoming more paranoid sense he took over from Khama. His regime is becoming more oppressive than that of Zimbabwe. However it’s not the end of the matter as the Batswanas can approach courts to have the matter put to rest

      1. D.K.

        With the new government, Botswana seems to be learning from us. We will soon be one people with them if their parliament agrees to let us in and out of their country with the Zim Identity card, no passport required!
        They seem not to read the story about Starlink and the countries that are said to have fought for and won their independence who may be thinking that allowing it will be like bringing back colonialism.

  3. D.K.

    My simple thinking of government and life is that government should reap from what it has sown, and, with citizens following suit, people know that you need to earn it, without which one gets it by stealing or through corruption.
    What have the government wanting some form of payment from Elon Musk’s Starlink contributed towards the being and operation of Starlink?
    My thinking is that these governments should be satisfied with the income the countries gets from the normal business taxes to do with the movement and the buying and selling of equipment. Governments should also be aware that the Starlink user will definitely be promoting the generation and transmission of electricity as they will buying the local electricity.
    With people not wanting to pay or to be exempted, the countries will want to have some control, just as we hear of people getting electricity to their houses and farms and just refusing to pay and daring the power company to disconnect them, or people using slogans, party cards, party regalia or name dropping and passing through tollgates!
    I think Techzim should find out how the relation between Starlink and such governments like Malawi, Mozambique. Zambia, UK and US is, it may open the Pandora’s box.

    1. Zero


    2. Generation transmission

      What?? I second the what above, I also say What??

      1. The great translation movement

        I had to cheat and use AI to distil the meaning:

        I think governments should not charge Starlink for providing internet access to their countries. They already benefit from the taxes and the electricity consumption of Starlink users. Starlink is not stealing or corrupting anything. It is unfair to demand payment from something they did not contribute to. Techzim should investigate how Starlink deals with different governments and their demands.

  4. African Patriot

    No wonder Africa has fallen down the abyss. Only thing African governments excel in is corruption at the cost if citizen devekoping along with the rest of the world

    1. Botswana is free

      So you want a foreign company and a son of apartheid to dominant communication in South Africa? Maybe your not an African patriot as your name suggests?

      1. Do right by the people

        Africa needs to be pragmatic in its dealings instead of taking everything personally (for political expediency). I mean, look at you. You are implying its ok for Africa to lag behind because that will fix Elon for being born white in 70’s South Africa!

        1. True

          We only get to live once,why should we always lag behind? Right now you find some companies like powertel offering 3g , marketing it as a very advanced technology ,and the charges are pretty high- it’s just all laughable.

  5. Franklin

    African governments must be co-owners

    1. Roosevelt

      For our resources, I agree. But I think connectivity in this age is a greater grass roots resource, one which we sorely lack. We would be doing ourselves a greater favour by letting Starlink in than the other way around. Whether its directly by deploying units into schools or indirectly through industry competition in general, its a WIN (for us) win (for them) situation.

  6. Anonymous

    Money, money, money, less to scoop

  7. Niel

    Money, money, money, less to scoop

  8. M2

    And ZOL’s Internet bill this month? ZWL3,100,000 or USD220 😳😳

  9. The Last Don

    I hear Varakashi here in defence of the indefensible. What territorial integrity or national security are you talking about? Zimbabwe cannot protect itself against any threats from the first world. And what threats are these in the first place? It uses foreign made armaments so what prevents the First World countries from installing backdoors into the hardware. We have a foreign fully funded parliament including the networking so why did they not complain? If the West was that bad would we be having Mutsvangwa, Mthuli, Mangwana’s families staying in the Western countries? That’s shear hypocrisy. Don’t be fooled. They can’t give Space X the go ahead because they were not bribed or given free shareholding like Mphoko in that supermarket.

    1. Y’all are odd

      Lol the nail was hit one the head

  10. Anton J Muller

    A full bucket in Zimbabwe costs 250 us dollar a monthly and it is absolutely useless. Star link is 50 us dollar a month and it is super fast and reliable

  11. Maingishe

    Shame the ministers who are collecting bribes so President Mnangagwa can fire them ! Don’t wait till it’s too late , I think he now has the appetite to sweet his cabinet clean including removing outright thieves !

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