Elon Musk’s Starlink, a satellite internet company, has revealed plans to expand its services to Kenya in the second quarter of 2023. The move is still subject to regulatory approvals and coverage availability. Starlink’s entry into the Kenyan market will bring a new form of internet connectivity to the country, and its high-speed, low-latency service has the potential to revolutionize the way Kenyans access the internet.
Kenyans can now pre-order the service by depositing a fully refundable amount of Sh12,260 ($99). Starlink is targeting major cities such as Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, and Nakuru as well as other towns in the country. The company’s service is powered by a massive constellation of advanced satellites operating in low orbit around the Earth.
This approach is different from the traditional methods of internet connectivity in Kenya, which mainly rely on fiber optic cables, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks. Starlink’s satellite-based system is similar to the global positioning system (GPS) which uses satellites to provide location data to cell phones around the world. However, unlike GPS, Starlink’s service requires a much larger number of satellites for seamless coverage.
The company will face stiff competition from established internet service providers in Kenya, such as Safaricom. The latter has invested billions of shillings over the past five years to build its fixed-data network, catering to the growing demand for online streaming services like Netflix.
Demand for high-speed internet services in the country is increasing due to the ongoing digitization efforts as well as high cost of data charges. The company had previously stated that it could offer internet speeds of up to 100Mbps for home users and up to 220Mbps for businesses.
Starlink’s entry into the Kenyan market will bring a new form of internet connectivity to the country, and its high-speed, low-latency service has the potential to revolutionize the way Kenyans access the internet. However, it will face stiff competition from existing players in the market, and its success will depend on how well it can differentiate itself and meet the increasing demand for high-speed internet in the country.