Botswana Reportedly Banned Starlink

Botswana reportedly banned Starlink just two weeks after the country rejected the application. The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) has just announced that the importation usage as well as the sale of Starlink kits or its services in the region is illegal, and violators in the process will get to face the legal consequences.

Botswana Banned Starlink

Botswana Banned Starlink

The telecom regulator recently stated that while it is still in the process of reviewing the application of Starlink to operate, the internet satellite that was launched back in 2018 by SpaceX is still yet to be licensed in the country. If you recall, you will see that in February 2, 2024, the communication watchdog of Botswana rejected an application by the internet satellite firm to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024 simply because the company at the time failed to meet up with all the necessary requirements.

In a recent communication, BOCRA emphasized that Starlink has not granted authorization to any party to import or distribute its Internet kits within Botswana. Any such actions undertaken without proper consent will be considered unlawful. However, the specific penalties that BOCRA intends to impose on violators are not clearly defined.

What This Means for Those Who Already Bought Starlink Kits

Several individuals who have purchased Starlink’s Internet satellite devices for personal use find themselves in a predicament at the Kazungula border in Zambia, as they are prohibited from transporting these devices into Botswana.

According to reports, individuals arriving at the border are presented with two options: either return the device to Zambia, where Starlink service is officially available or seek permission from Botswana’s telecommunications regulator. However, thus far, no requests for permission have been successful.

Is There A Workaround?

Some users have discovered a workaround by utilizing the “roaming” feature in other African countries where the importation and resale of Starlink kits are not regulated. They can simply purchase the device in countries like Zambia or Mozambique, where it is already licensed.

Exploiting this apparent loophole, Starlink resellers such as Starsat Africa in Mozambique and TD Africa in Nigeria have been offering importation and delivery services of Starlink kits across Africa, including countries where it has not yet been officially licensed.

Starlink’s Terms of Use

However, according to Starlink’s terms of use, importing and reselling in a country where the satellite service has not been launched is strictly prohibited. The measures that the Internet satellite company intends to take to enforce this policy in non-compliant regions remain unclear.

In a recent development, Starlink disconnected numerous customers in South Africa, where the service is banned, citing a violation of its terms of use. The situation regarding users in other African nations that have also banned Starlink services, such as Ghana, Zimbabwe, and even Botswana, remains uncertain.



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