Starlink's Africa ambition hits regulatory roadblock in Botswana
- Starlink's plan for satellite deployment in Botswana faces rejection from the Communication Authority due to missing application requirements.
- The specific omissions that led to the rejection have not been disclosed.
- Starlink needs to address and rectify the deficiencies in its application to proceed with its expansion plans in Botswana.
Starlink's global connectivity ambitions face a setback as Botswana rejects its bid for operation. The satellite service, a venture of SpaceX led by Elon Musk, had sought approval for its low-orbit satellite deployment in Botswana, aiming for a Q4 2024 launch.
However, the country's Communication Authority declined the application, citing inadequacies in the information provided. Although Starlink had submitted its application in May 2023, regulators found crucial details missing, but the specific omissions remain undisclosed.
A source from Botswana's Communication Authority revealed, "There were issues regarding missing requirements with the application, which were identified and pointed out." Starlink has yet to address and rectify the deficiencies in its application to move forward with its expansion plans in the African nation.
Starlink grapples with regulatory challenges in Southern Africa as its expansion faces resistance. The South African government recently turned down Starlink's application due to non-compliance with a mandatory 30% ownership requirement for historically disadvantaged individuals. The rejection underscores the complexities of meeting local ownership regulations in the region. In Zimbabwe, lawmakers cited an EU investigation into X, a social media platform owned by Elon Musk, as grounds to reject Starlink's application. Despite these setbacks, Starlink has managed to secure licenses in Zambia, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi, indicating a mixed reception across the Southern African region. The contrasting regulatory outcomes highlight the intricate landscape that global tech companies navigate as they seek to establish their presence in diverse markets.