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Starlink launches in Kenya as Safaricom gears up for competition

Starlink is now available in Kenya, with Karibu as its authorised reseller in the country. Safaricom says it intends to launch a Starlink competitor in the coming months.

Starlink launches in Kenya as Safaricom gears up for competition
Starlink hardware

Starlink has officially launched its operations in Kenya. "Starlink for sale in Kenya! Note, buying a Starlink with global roaming allows you to travel almost anywhere," Elon Musk, the founder of the satellite internet provider tweeted on Tuesday.

Karibu Connect, a local internet connectivity solutions provider has been authorised as the first reseller of Starlink in the country.

“Our partnership with Starlink is a substantial progression in our mission to deliver affordable, high-quality internet access to all corners of Kenya,” says John Thuo, CEO of Karibu Connect. “The deployment of Starlink’s groundbreaking technology will revolutionize how rural Kenya engages with the global community, fostering societal progress and driving economic growth.”

Karibu Connect will extend Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency connectivity to diverse sectors in rural Kenya, including small businesses, industry, telecommunications, multi-dwelling units, education, tourism & hospitality, maritime and government organizations.

Kenya becomes the fourth African country where Starlink is currently shipping to. Earlier this year, the company launched its operations in Nigeria, Mozambique and Rwanda.

According to data available on Starlink's website, the rate for acquiring and setting up Starlink in Kenya is: KES6,500 (~$45.90) for a monthly subscription, KES89,000 (~628.53) for hardware and KES3100 (~$21.89) for shipping.

This implies that you will need at least KES92,100 (~$650.42) to own a Starlink in Kenya.

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When Starlink launched in Nigeria, its charge for the hardware device was $600 (₦274,098) and the subscription was $43 (₦19,260) per month.

Related Article: How to setup your Starlink hardware in Nigeria

Just a few hours before Starlink announced its launch in Kenya, East African leading telco, Safaricom disclosed its plan to launch a satellite internet service to compete with Starlink. The telco says it is partnering with US-based AST SpaceMobile to launch the service.

Vodafone Group Plc, Safaricom's ultimate parent firm, is one of the investors in AST SpaceMobile, setting the stage for this collaboration. AST SpaceMobile's BlueWalker 3 satellite underwent testing in 2022 and has since partnered with Vodacom and Safaricom for a formal trial in the second quarter of 2023.

After a successful trial, AST SpaceMobile will carry out its satellite deployments in partnership with Vodacom, ensuring ubiquitous communications to 4G devices across Africa and beyond. According to local report, the revenue-sharing agreement between Safaricom and AST SpaceMobile will be split 50/50, with both parties committed to maintaining mutual exclusivity in their respective markets.

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