Elon Musk’s satellite internet firm, Starlink, has announced that it will launch its service in Kenya in the second quarter of 2023.
This move marks the company's expansion into the African market and is part of Starlink's mission to provide internet access to remote and underserved areas around the world.
Kenyans who want to access the service can pre-order by depositing a refundable amount of $99. On the company’s website, Starlink will launch in Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru and Nairobi, among other towns in the country.
A comparison of Starlink and Kenyan internet service providers
Starlink is an internet service provided by SpaceX, which uses satellites operating in a low orbit around the Earth to provide broadband internet across the globe. The service provides download speeds of between 20 and 100 megabits per second (Mbps) for regular consumers and 40 – 220 Mbps for business customers.
Starlink will face competition from leading internet providers such as Safari.com, Airtel, Telkom and Faiba. Safari.com, the fastest internet provider in Kenya, delivers a download speed of 22.19 Mbps.
The current internet service providers mainly offer connectivity via fibre optic cables, over Wi-Fi and cellular networks. Fibre optic cables are routed to cell towers, which send data to devices in the form of electromagnetic waves.
The current leading internet provider in the country, Safari.com, launched its 5G network in 2022. At the moment it has 35 active sites spread across Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii, Kakamega and Mombasa, and plans to expand to 200 sites across the country by March 2023.
Meanwhile, Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency internet service is set to launch in Q2 2023 pending regulatory approval. The expected location includes Kisumu, Mombasa, Nakuru and Nairobi.
Kenya’s leading internet provider, Safari.com, offers internet connectivity at a price range between KES 2,999 ($24) - KES 15,699 ($127). Starlink is taking pre-orders at KES 12,266 ($99), but the charge for the hardware device has not yet been revealed.
In Nigeria, the pre-order and hardware kit costs $600 (KES 74,340) while the monthly subscription is pegged at $43 (KES 5,327)per month. The price tag in Kenya shouldn’t be far from what is obtainable in Nigeria.
Due to the huge price difference and to gradually ease into the country, it is expected that Starlink will be targeting corporate customers to buy the high internet speed internet.
Starlink’s African expansion
Last year, Elon Musk announced that Starlink has already obtained licences to operate in Mozambique, Malawi and Nigeria.
Currently, Elon Musk's satellite internet service Starlink is now available in 32 countries around Europe, Asia, North America and all across the globe. Its African rollout is expected to grow in the coming months