Starlink Has Not Received License To Operate In Botswana, Says BOCRA

According to Starlink's website, the satellite internet service will launch in Botswana in Q3 2023, earlier than the suggested 2024 launch reported in January. However, according to the Botswana Communications & Regulatory Authority (BOCRA), the company is yet to get the licensing requirements needed to set up operations in Botswana.

"We have not had any applications for the requisite licenses from [Starlink]," Aaron Nyelesi, director of communications at BOCRA told BW TechZone. "Any internet service provider who seeks to operate in Botswana needs to abide by the country's regulations and apply for the requisite licensing."

It is of course not bizarre that the company decided to announce a launch date without the necessary licensing required. After all, on the website, the company does disclaim that "Estimates are contingent on government approval & network expansions."

With this new information from BOCRA, despite Starlink's communication, it seems very unlikely that the service will launch within Q3 2023 which ends on September 30. A 2024 launch date seems more practical, which will disappoint Batswana desperately waiting for the service to launch.

Despite having launched in some African countries including Rwanda, Kenya and Mozambique, in southern Africa, the company has experienced some regulatory pushback.  In South Africa, the import, reselling and use of the service have been banned pending the launch of the service which requires the subsidiary to assign 30% ownership to historically disadvantaged people. 

In Zimbabwe, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) also last week warned against the reselling and usage of the service, citing lack of licensing.

Reselling of Starlink in countries where it is yet to launch is popular. Because Starlink satellites hover above these countries, users are able to access the service while making the required payments using portals of countries where it has officially launched.

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