Starlink halts services in Zimbabwe following POTRAZ directive


HARARE – Starlink, the satellite internet service operated by Elon Musk's SpaceX, has ceased operations in Zimbabwe following a directive from the country's telecoms regulator, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).

Starlink stops its services in Zimbabwe following POTRAZ DIRECTIVE, amid regulatory issues
Image: Online sources

In an email sent to its Zimbabwean users, Starlink stated: 

“You are currently using Starlink in an unauthorised territory. As a result, Starlink has been directed by POTRAZ to disable your service. We will continue to work with POTRAZ to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to turn on Starlink services in Zimbabwe as soon as possible.”

The email further encouraged users to contact POTRAZ to express their support for Starlink's regulatory approval in Zimbabwe.

According to local technology publication, Techzim, Starlink has an estimated 5,000 users in the country. Despite the high-speed broadband services offered by Starlink in over 60 countries, Zimbabwe is yet to license the satellite internet network for local use.

In February, POTRAZ stated that while Starlink had expressed interest in obtaining a license to operate in Zimbabwe, it had not formally applied for one. 

Consequently, users of the service were essentially breaking the law.

Last month, reports emerged suggesting that the government was holding meetings with officials from Starlink over the licensing of the service in Zimbabwe.

This is not the first time Starlink has faced such issues. Last month, users in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) also had their Starlink terminals shut down under similar circumstances. 

Starlink has assured its Zimbabwean users that it will notify them as soon as it receives regulatory approvals to resume services in the country. 

Users have the option to pause their service and billing or continue using their Starlink service in an area currently served by the company.

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