Currently available in 54 countries around the world, providing service to 1.5 million active customers according to its official website, Elon Musk-owned Starlink has set its sights on expanding its satellite internet service across Africa.
The service, which has now launched in Kenya, with an initial reach to major cities such as Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, and Nakuru, means that the country is the fourth African country after Nigeria, Rwanda and Mozambique to get connected.
The service promises high-speed internet of up to 200Mbps with exciting possibilities for improving education, business, and overall socio-economic growth in the country. At a monthly subscription fee of Ksh6,500 ($45.9) and a one-time hardware cost of Ksh92,000 ($649.72), broadband internet is poised to become accessible and affordable to a wider spectrum of the population.
Meanwhile, the company's entry into Kenya is set to pose new competition for local internet service providers such as Faiba, Safaricom and Zuku. These telecom operators providing the fastest internet speed in Kenya currently charge between Ksh12,000 ($84.5) to Ksh16,000 ($112.7) for 100Mbps per month, according to local media website Tuko.
In response to this, Kenya’s top communications company, Safaricom, has partnered with AST SpaceMobile to launch satellite internet services in the country, driving competition between the two players in the satellite internet space driving improved services and further democratization of internet access.
Starlink plans to launch in 17 more African countries in 2023, including Zambia and Angola. Sixteen countries—Uganda, Tunisia, Ghana and Egypt inclusive—are scheduled for a 2024 release, while 18 more countries have unconfirmed launch windows.