Following Nigeria, Rwanda, and Mozambique, Kenya is the next African to have access to Elon Musk’s Starlink Satellite Internet. This is after the billionaire and investor announced that the internet service is now available for sale in Kenya.
Kenya has been reaching new connectivity levels in the recent past with two telecommunications companies operating in the country launched 5G networks. Safaricom was first to launch in October 2022, followed by Airtel Kenya which launched just last month.
The demand for faster, more reliable connectivity has been increasing steadily in Kenya with providers racing to provide the best to feed the high demand. Starlink launching in Kenya means that the internet providers in Kenya have a new competitor that is bringing globally highest qualities of internet.
The launch has already sparked conversations amongst the Kenyan IT community on what this means for digital transformation in Kenya. Some have welcomed the competition and challenge to improve their services while others have advised Kenyans to only get Starlink if they need it.
Even though Starlink prices are considerably higher than the current internet prices, individuals and companies that see the difference in value will be more than willing to pay for Starlink.
Fibre Internet Providers Wary Of Starlink
Group Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Ben Roberts, advised Kenyans to only take Starlink for rural areas and urban dwellers to stick to fibre internet. The biggest advantage that satellite internet has over fibre internet is that the former can be accessed from anywhere on the planet.
Starlink in Kenya will be great for your rural home. But listen to this advice carefully I will say it only once. If you are in a Liquid Fibre/Zuku/Safcom Fibre/JTL Faiba area don't even THINK about ditching your fibre for Starlink… Or you will shed premium tears.
— Ben Roberts 🇬🇧🇰🇪 (@benliquidkenya) July 18, 2023
Liquid Intelligent Technologies has been one of the leading internet providers for companies and individuals alike in Kenya. Reacting to Ben Roberts’ advise, some Kenyans said that Liquid is feeling the threat that Starlink brings to the country’s already existing internet providers.
Telecommunications company Safaricom felt the heat prior to Starlink launch and said that it also has plans to start providing satellite internet in Kenya. Safaricom said that its forthcoming satellite internet will be made available through AST SpaceMobile, a Starlink rival. Vodacom, Safaricom’s parent company, has an existing partnership with AST SpaceMobile and is an investor in the satellite internet provider.
With Safaricom eyeing the satellite internet field, Starlink may have a challenge on its hands as Safaricom targets mobile phones. Mobile technology is almost always gladly welcomed by the market in Kenya, and East Africa.
Other internet providers that will face the fierce competition from Starlink include Jamii Telecom’s Faiba and Zuku.
Starlink Prices And Target Market
One thing that’s certain is that Starlink will be widely adopted in rural Kenya as other providers have been struggling to tap into that sector. However, many may argue that very few people will be able to afford it in rural Kenya.
Kenyans will have to depart with $599 (Ksh. 74,216) to register for Starlink satellite internet. The Starlink kit comes equipped with a Starlink dish, mounting tripod, WiFi router, power supply and cables.
In their initial announcement early this year, Starlink said its target areas include Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru all of which services would be made available from mid this year.
Starlink, which is already available in 44 countries globally, targets customers who struggle to access the internet through traditional landlines.
The internet service provider says it is capable of delivering speeds of over 150Mbps to any place on the planet, as long as its satellite dish has a clear view of the sky.