African countries get Starlink before South Africa

According to the service’s official coverage map, at least 20 African countries have deployed or are getting Starlink ahead of South Africa. Starlink is a satellite broadband service operated by Elon Musk’s private space company, SpaceX. It is supported by a network of more than 3,000 low-Earth orbit satellites that SpaceX has launched in batches since 2019.

It can prove particularly useful in rural areas where mobile or fixed broadband access is limited or non-existent. Such communities are numerous in South Africa. Because SpaceX founder Elon Musk was born in the country, some expected him to have some disposition to bring the service to the country as soon as possible. This does not appear to be the case.

The first two African countries confirmed to get Starlink are Mozambique and Nigeria, with rollouts planned for the fourth quarter of 2022. Seven other countries on the continent – Angola, Eswatini, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania – are expected to to be deployed in the first quarter of 2023. Eleven other African countries also have their estimated availability dates in 2023.

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