Elon Musk’s satellite internet company Starlink has been licensed to start operations in Rwanda, beginning April 2023.
According to the Rwanda Space Agency, the company will offer internet and high-speed connectivity services to Rwanda through its constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.
Rwanda will be Startlink’s second African country where its services will be officially up and rolling. A few more countries including Kenya are expected to get the company’s services later this year.
Kenya is among the countries expected to get Starlink services by mid this year, as per the company’s website. Nigeria and Mozambique were the first African countries to grant Starlink a license to operate its internet service, followed by Malawi followed.
Francis Ngabo, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Space Agency said that the company’s entry into the country aligns with the country’s acceleration of digital growth.
“This is another milestone in our journey to leverage space capabilities for national development. #Satcoms will aid to achieve #Rwanda’s digital inclusion target,” Ngabo wrote on Twitter.
Despite the company’s highly promising internet solutions, some experts have opined that its pricing is too high for most users on the continent.
The company has capped its one-time fee of $599 (formerly $499) for the dish and router, and $110 (formerly $99) for a monthly subscription. There is also a premium product tier that goes for $2,500 for installation and $500 in monthly fees.
Internet penetration has significantly increased across the continent, with more affordable options from homegrown operators made more affordable. However, Starlink’s satellite solution aims to take internet in “areas where connectivity has been unreliable or completely unavailable.” This may bring about phenomenal changes to connectivity, particularly if the prices are friendlier.