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Elon Musk’s Starlink will launch in Rwanda on February 22.

Elon Musk’s Starlink will launch in Rwanda on February 22.

Billionaire Elon Musk’s high-speed satellite internet venture, Starlink, is set to enter the Rwandan internet market next week after it secured regulatory approval from the country.

Starlink’s service is scheduled to be up and running in Rwanda by February 22, according to Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire.

“Starlink is finalizing the process of onboarding [bringing on board] a local partner through whom registration for Starlink services will be made. It is a platform through which users can register and pay for the service,” Ingabire said on Monday, February 13.

 

The regulator recently announced it had approved the registration of Starlink Internet Services, paving the way for the firm to start offering internet access services to the local market.

Rwanda will be the first country in the region to offer Starlink’s services, which are provided through advanced, low-orbit satellites, making its internet even faster.

The service is available in more than 30 countries, mainly in North America and Europe.

Starlink has deployed over 2,000 satellites and plans to launch thousands more. The company offers high-speed, low-latency satellite internet service with download speeds between 100 megabits per second and 200 Mbps, the regulator said.

The Global Innovation Index (GII) report released by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) recently ranked Rwanda as the leading low-income country in Sub-Saharan Africa with the fastest broadband speed. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Rwanda performs above the regional average in three pillars; institutions, human capital and research, and infrastructure.

Once operational, Starlink is expected to cover unserved or underserved villages in urban and suburban areas and rural areas, a move that could potentially boost the country’s internet penetration.

James Ndekezi, an independent entrepreneur based in Kigali, said Starlink’s entry into Rwanda will provide a choice for end users, especially those in areas not reached by existing service providers.

But, he said, the newcomer’s success in the country will depend on how the government can quickly enable Starlink to set up the necessary infrastructure, especially the spectrum for satellite internet access.

 

Equally important, he added, is the market response mainly on the affordability front. proposed pricing by Starlink is relatively affordable, with details set to be announced by the Ministry of ICT and Innovation.

Ingabire earlier said that “Starlink services come to fill the need and gap of [internet] connectivity.”

Elon Musk's Starlink will launch in Rwanda on February 22.
Elon Musk’s Starlink will launch in Rwanda on February 22.

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