Starlink Deemed Illegal by Botswana Regulator

Starlink activities are currently deemed illegal by Botswana regulator. The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) has now declared the importation, usage, and resale of all Starlink devices in the region as punishable offenses, Starlink is at the moment unlicensed in the country, and BOCRA is therefore reviewing its application for imminent approval.

Starlink Deemed Illegal by Botswana Regulator

Starlink Deemed Illegal by Botswana Regulator

BOCRA has emphasized that Starlink has not granted authorization for the importation, use, or sale of its devices in Botswana. Engaging in such activities without Starlink’s authorization is considered an offense according to BOCRA. While the specific charges Starlink could bring against offenders remain unclear, Starlink’s terms of use prohibit importation and resale in countries where the service has not yet launched.

Strain for Users with Starlink Devices

Some individuals, who own Starlink devices, reportedly using them for personal use, are encountering entry restrictions at the Kazungula border post with Zambia, where the service has been officially launched. At the border post, individuals attempting to enter Botswana with Starlink devices have reported being instructed to return the devices to Zambia and being denied entry into Botswana.

One individual, who preferred to remain anonymous, shared their experience with TechCabal. Another person, who attempted to bring in a Starlink device, was directed by border control to contact the regulator for permission, but their request was unsuccessful.

The devices will not be permitted into the country until BOCRA licenses the service and grants authorization for their entry. While importation and resale of Starlink devices are prohibited, users can legally utilize the devices in various locations on the continent, including countries where it is not yet licensed, through the ‘roaming’ option. However, users must have legally purchased the device in a country where Starlink has been licensed.

How Starlink Resellers Are Working Around BOCRA’s Rule

Starlink resellers like Starsat, operating from Mozambique where the service is licensed, appear to exploit this ‘loophole’ by offering importation and delivery of Starlink units to countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. However, recent reports from MyBroadband indicate that Starlink terminated the accounts of numerous customers who purchased Starlink kits through Starsat and other resellers, citing a breach of the terms of use.



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