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Starlink’s entry into Kenya doubles number of satellite internet users


Latest data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) reveal that the number of satellite internet users in Kenya more than doubled in the three months to December last year.  

The data shows that the number of satellite internet users rose from 1,354 in the three months to September last year, to 2,933 in the quarter ended December. This follows the entry of satellite internet company Starlink into Kenya in July.

The data further shows that 92 per cent of users have speeds of between 100 megabytes per second (Mbps) and 1 gigabyte per second (Gbps), up from zero during a similar period in 2022 after Starlink’s entry. 

Starlink is owned by billionaire Elon Musk and is operated by American aerospace company SpaceX. It offers a revolutionary satellite internet service that uses a constellation of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Unlike traditional satellite internet, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency connectivity, supporting services not possible with traditional satellite technology. 

With a global customer base exceeding 1.5 million subscribers, Starlink notes that it is at the forefront of transforming the global internet connectivity landscape. 

While providers such as Safaricom, Zuku and Telkom operating in the Kenyan market mainly offer services through underground cable and Wi-Fi connections, Starlink’s internet is carried through the airwaves via satellite connections. This makes it more reliable and widespread especially in remote areas where fibre optic infrastructure is underdeveloped.

Users can access the internet via phased-array user terminals, commonly known as satellite dishes, which are installed at their locations. These dishes automatically align themselves with the passing satellites, allowing for a continuous and stable internet connection.

When it launched in Kenya, Starlink picked Karibu Connect, a provider of internet connectivity solutions in East Africa as its first authorized reseller.

Karibu Connect while making the announcement said it will extend Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency connectivity to diverse sectors in rural Kenya, including small businesses, industry, telecommunications, multi-dwelling units, education, tourism and hospitality, maritime, and government organizations.

The company said it is offering Starlink enterprise services for both fixed and mobile applications, including vehicle-mounted solutions for use on the go or on boats and ships operating both inland and offshore. 

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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