Botswana has denied approval for Elon Musk’s Starlink to operate in the country, a decision that comes just before its planned launch in Q4 2024.
Starlink submitted its application to launch in May 2023, but the regulator found that the company did not provide all the necessary information, Techcabal reported.
An insider from Botswana’s Communication Authority revealed, “There were issues regarding missing requirements with the application, which were identified and pointed out. They are yet to respond to the issues.”
To operate in Botswana, entities like Starlink are required to pay an application fee of P5,600, an annual license fee of up to P386,000 (~$28,500), and 3% of annual operating revenue.
Starlink’s operation in Africa has not been all rosy as it is facing regulatory challenges on the continent, where only 40% of its over 1.3 billion population have access to the internet, the lowest rate in the world.
Starlink is banned in South Africa for non-compliance with a legal requirement outlined in the Electronics Communications Act (ECA), which mandates that historically disadvantaged groups (HDGs) must own 30% of a company before it can get the necessary telecoms licences to operate a broadband service locally.
Zimbabwean legislators also rejected Starlink’s application, citing an EU investigation into X, Elon Musk’s social media platform. Despite this setback, Starlink holds licenses in Zambia, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.