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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomeNews‘TelOne Ready to Compete With Starlink’

‘TelOne Ready to Compete With Starlink’

TelOne is facing a double challenge of recovering a massive debt from the government and dealing with rampant vandalism of its infrastructure

 TelOne, Zimbabwe’s state-owned telecommunications service provider, says it is prepared to compete with Starlink, the satellite internet venture of billionaire Elon Musk.

Starlink, which aims to provide high-speed internet access to remote areas of the world, has applied to operate in Zimbabwe but is still awaiting approval from the country’s telecom regulator, POTRAZ.

TelOne’s CEO, Eng Lawrence Nkala, told reporters that his company was ready to face the challenges and opportunities posed by Starlink and other low earth orbit satellite (LEOS) providers, such as OneWeb, Amazon and Roscosmos.

“We are looking into it, Starlink is the first to show interest in operating in the country and they could be disruptive but we will take it as innovation and work on it,” he said during a media tour of TelOne’s data centers in Harare and Bulawayo.

“We are sure that it is not going to be easy but we are ready for the coming in of Starlink and we will always look for innovations to keep us as the product of choice,” he added.

TelOne, which offers fixed and mobile internet services, faces a potential threat from Starlink, which claims to offer faster and cheaper internet than traditional providers.

According to a 2023 report by Cable.co.uk, Zimbabwe has the most expensive internet in Africa and the world, with an average price of $43.75 per gigabyte.

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Many Zimbabweans struggle to afford internet access, which is essential for education, business and communication.

However, Starlink is not welcomed by the Zimbabwean authorities, who have threatened to arrest anyone distributing or using its equipment without a license.

POTRAZ says Starlink needs to follow proper telecommunications processes before starting operations, otherwise it will disrupt other services.

According to local media reports, two people have already been arrested in Victoria Falls and Bulawayo for using Starlink internet. Their cases are currently before the courts.

Starlink, which is part of Musk’s SpaceX company, has launched more than 1,000 satellites into orbit and plans to launch thousands more.

It has coverage in over 60 countries and is operational in several African countries, including Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya and Malawi.

Starlink says it will offer text-only mobile phone service this year, and voice and data services in 2025.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

Latest comments

  • itai serious nemaspeeds enyu e600kbps, what a joke

  • Hapana zvavari kutaura. Where is their Blaze? How do they intend to make connectivity available in remote areas?

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