Starlink Launches in Kenya, Competing with Safaricom’s Satellite Internet

Elon Musk’s Starlink enters Kenya as a competitor to Safaricom, intensifying the satellite internet market.

Starlink, Elon Musk’s satellite internet venture, has officially launched in Kenya, becoming the sixth African country where the service is available. Nigeria, Mozambique, Rwanda, Mauritius, and Sierra Leone were the first to benefit from Starlink’s operations on the continent.

Coinciding with Starlink’s entry, Safaricom, a leading telecom operator in Kenya, recently announced its plans to introduce satellite internet services in the country. Safaricom has partnered with AST SpaceMobile, a direct competitor to Starlink, to implement this initiative, intensifying the competition in the market.

AST SpaceMobile aims to provide satellite-based internet access to areas with limited coverage, enabling standard mobile phones to connect to the space-based broadband network. The company has also formed a partnership with Vodacom, adding another dimension to the growing competition in the region.

Through the collaboration with AST SpaceMobile, Safaricom aims to enhance its existing broadband offerings, including Wi-Fi, cellular networks, and fiber optic cables. The satellite internet service provided by Safaricom boasts download speeds exceeding 10 Mbps over LTE.

AST SpaceMobile conducted successful testing of its prototype satellite, Bluewalker 3, demonstrating its functionality. An official trial of the technology is scheduled for the second quarter of 2023 in Kenya, positioning AST SpaceMobile as a viable alternative for internet connectivity in the Kenyan market.

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