Elon Musk’s satellite internet service, Starlink, has officially launched in Eswatini, a landlocked country in Southern Africa.
This makes the eighth African market the service has launched this year and the tenth overall. According to Starlink’s coverage map, it will add Angola to the list in early 2024.
Eswatini’s closest neighbors, SA and Mozambique, have also received the service. However, it is yet to meet the terms required for an official South African rollout. From the looks of it, that is also more likely to happen next year.
Starlink is operational in other Southern African countries, including Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi, which means the service has already covered more than half the sub-region. It plans to expand to Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana in the coming year.
Formerly known as Swaziland, Eswatini has a population of a little over a million. As of 2019, only 8.4 percent of Swazis were using the internet. But that has tremendously improved, with 58 percent connected in 2023.
According to Ookla’s Speedtest, the median fixed internet connection speed in Eswatini is 5.16 MB/s, having increased by 0.76 MB/s (or 17.3 percent) in the twelve months to the start of 2023. The market is obviously lagging compared to the rest of Africa.
Starlink, thanks to its low earth orbit technology, has the potential to bridge the connectivity gap, offering speeds of up to 100 MB/s. Users, particularly those in remote areas, can enjoy low-latency internet without having to rely on traditional network infrastructure.
There is no indication which vendor has been authorized to resell Starlink kits to Swazi customers, yet.