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Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zimbabwe confirms ‘Elon Musk’s Starlink yet to pay application fees’

Starlink, a satellite internet constellation operated by American aerospace company SpaceX, providing coverage to over 60 countries, is yet to pay an application fee to operate in Zimbabwe, Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister Tatenda Mavetera confirmed.

Speaking during a post cabinet briefing in Harare on Wednesday, Mavetera said Starlink, owned by American billionaire Elon Musk, is yet to pay application fees to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) in order to operate in the country.

“We have already started embracing satellite technologies. The position of Starlink is that, they communicated through POTRAZ that they are willing to engage with Zimbabwe government. But I’m told they have not been able to pay for the application fees,” Mavetera said.

“POTRAZ’s structure is that any company that is willing to have a telecommunications license, they also need to make sure they pay a certain amount money.

“So, because of that, Starlink has not been able to do that. They said they want to, but they have nt been able to come back to us. But of course, we are working flat-out to make sure that we have got reliable connectivity and affordable data.”

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Starlink has a fast-growing network of more than 4,000 satellites in low earth orbit.

It has so far rolled out services in several African countries including Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Mozambique, Reunion, Malawi and Zambia but it still has to undergo regulatory approvals in many other countries including Zimbabwe.

Starlink satellites which can deliver internet speeds of up to 200Mbps, are six times faster than local internet services which are also expensive.

It will also provide a huge advantage to remote areas where telecommunications technology and infrastructure is not existing.

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