Musk’s Starlink gets green light to operate in Zimbabwe

The approval comes amid a government crackdown on unregistered users smuggling Starlink kits from neighbouring countries.


President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that Zimbabwe has granted Elon Musk’s Starlink the license to operate in the country, marking a significant step towards enhancing internet access. The approval is anticipated to bring high-speed, low-cost satellite internet to Zimbabwe, mainly benefiting rural areas with low-Earth-orbit (LEO) technology.

Starlink will partner exclusively with IMC Communications to provide its services in Zimbabwe. Only 34.8% of the population currently has internet access, as noted in a 2021 World Bank report, with three major mobile operators dominating the market. The introduction of Starlink aims to bridge this gap, offering a more extensive and affordable internet infrastructure.

The development follows issues with unregistered users smuggling Starlink kits from neighbouring countries, such as Zambia. Starlink’s official presence in Africa is expanding, with services already available in Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, and Malawi. However, regulatory challenges remain in Cameroon, where authorities recently seized Starlink equipment due to licensing issues.