Zimbabwe: Starlink Gets Permission to Operate in Zimbabwe

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa Saturday indulged in a major policy climbdown after announcing the Southern Africa nation will be now enlist for Starlink's services.

Starlink, a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite operator owned by United States (US)-based SpaceX and spearheaded by prominent billionaire Elon Musk, will provide advanced internet and digital services in Zimbabwe through its exclusive local partner, IMC Communications (Pvt) Ltd.

The major policy shift comes on the back of the service's demand locally, which was blocked by policy makers over the past months.

However, the robust technology offered by Starlink almost made it inevitable for the government to adopt considering that regulatory laws were not water tight to bar the technology's smuggling.

In a gesture of accepting the unavoidable, Mnangagwa embraced Starlink via a local company.

"One of the strategic pillars that anchor the Second Republic's developmental agenda under Vision 2030 is innovation, science and technology. Prioritisation of the digital economy and the emerging importance of technology in our day-to-day activities require the government to lead from the front in providing an environment where investment in technology is promoted.

"In this vein, I'm pleased to announce that I have approved the licensing of Starlink by POTRAZ to provide advanced internet and related digital processing services in Zimbabwe through its sole and exclusive local partner, IMC Communications (Pvt) Ltd," he said in a statement.

The development is likely to shake local service providers, who for long had agitated the market due to compromised service provision, which included unexplained down-times going for days, often not matching the high prices of data.

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