Operations for Elon Musk’s Starlink begin in Kenya, posing threat to Safaricom, others
Illustration of SpaceX’s Starlink network of satellites.Getty Images
Starlink, founded by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, launches satellite internet services in Kenya, intensifying competition with local providers like Safaricom, Jamii Telecommunications Limited, and Zuku.
•The multinational company aims to offer impressive download speeds of up to 250 Mbps and upload rates of up to 35 Mbps to Kenyan users.
•Starlink partners with local internet company Karibu Connect as its first authorized distributor in Kenya.
Starlink, a satellite internet provider founded by Elon Musk, has launched services in the Kenyan market, paving the way for more intense rivalry with regional rivals such as Safaricom, Jamii Telecommunications Limited, and Zuku.
With a pledge to provide download speeds of up to 250 Mbps and upload rates of up to 35 Mbps, the multinational, which is a spinoff of Elon Musk’s space technology company SpaceX, has also named local internet company Karibu Connect as its first authorized distributor in Kenya.
The purchase of a terminal to allow the connections will cost a Kenyan home user Ksh89,000 ($628) plus a Ksh3,100 ($21.88) delivery fee, while the monthly membership rate will be Ksh6,500 ($45.89). This information is shown in a notice that is posted on Starlink’s website.
For commercial usage, however, the price of the gear will be Ksh349,106 ($2,465) plus Ksh7,500 for shipment, while Ksh13,572 ($95.81) each month is the cost of the subscription.
According to a spot check by Business Daily, a Kenyan business news publication, Starlink’s fixed monthly cost is in the middle of that of other internet service providers.
For example, market leader Safaricom offers an 8 Mbps bronze fibre package for residential usage for Ksh2,999 ($21.17) per month, while a 20 Mbps silver bundle costs Ksh4,100 ($28.94).
Gold with 40 Mbps speed and Diamond with 100 Mbps speed are two Safaricom office-use packages available for Ksh6,299 ($44.47) and Ksh12,499 ($88.24), respectively.
While JTL charges Ksh5,250 ($37) per month for a 40 Mbps speed plan, Ksh10,500 ($74.13) for a 65 Mbps package, Ksh15,750 ($111.19) for a 90 Mbps package, and Ksh21,000 ($148.25) for a 140 Mbps package.
However, Starlink technology will provide services not supported by conventional terrestrial communications methods, enabling unmodified smartphones to connect to satellites in coverage-gap zones. Starlink services will be designed for both fixed and mobile applications, and will include vehicle-mounted options for use while traveling as well as on boats and ships that operate both inland and offshore.