Business and Technology

Zimbabwe engages Starlink amid public outrage over data prices

Public sentiment on government’s reluctance to bring in competitive and fast internet to Zimbabwe has grown negatively, however, there has been a shift by relative authorities after revelations that they are engaging the satellite internet service provider Starlink owned by billionaire Elon Musk.

Zimbabwe has not licensed Starlink to sell its product due to “security reasons” despite several companies including parastatals and individuals already using its services.

According to a reliable source close to the developments, discussions between government representatives and officials from Starlink are currently underway.

“Government is now bringing in Starlink and they are meeting officials from Starlink. You can confirm with Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services minister [Tatenda] Mavetera for more information. But she said that it is still confidential,” a source told NewsDay.

Asked about the latest government courting Starlink, Mavetera said: “Can you wait a bit to do that story, call me tomorrow [today], there is something that I am just waiting for. Maybe by Wednesday [today], I will be able to comment.”

Also Read: How President Is Being Misled On Launching StarLink

Sources in government, however, told NewsDay that government’s latest stance comes after a realisation that it was fighting a losing battle amid an influx of Starlink gadgets into Zimbabwe.

There was outrage on social media when POTRAZ Director General, Gift Machengete said that Zimbabwe has the cheapest data in the region.

“The cost of data in Zimbabwe is one of cheapest in the region, the only problem us people have low income which makes the data seem expensive,” he said.

This received condemnation from many Zimbabweans who believe Machengete is being dishonest.

Social media activist Rutendo Matinyarare says the Director General deserves to be dismissed:

Machengete is a candidate for dismissal and replacement. We are tired of incompetent officials who no longer have the desire to serve the people.

Who doesn’t know that Zim data is unreasonably expensive and hence many Zimbabwean are excluded from the digital economy?

Another notable social media commentator Kudzai Mutisi said Zimbabwe can only progress if the energy sector and internet services are efficient.

In the digital era, these two regulators are key in Zimbabwe: @Potraz_zw& @zeraenergy

A 21st century economy needs affordable & reliable ELECTRICITY… AND affordable, reliable, high speed internet connectivity…. These two are no longer luxuries, they are PREREQUISITES for economic growth.

ZERA needs to come up with policies that attract investment in the energy sector, they haven’t done much in that area. POTRAZ needs to ensure there is high quality connectivity across the country, they aren’t interested in that…. They are even LYING that data is cheap…

Other countries are getting Tourists & Digital Nomads who work remotely… Zimbabwe can’t benefit without affordable high quality internet. Digital Content creation & remote working is thriving in other countries, Zimbabweans are deprived that opportunity.

These two regulators need open-minded, ambitious, & modernist people, not Luddites who prefer keeping the country in the dark ages.

Back to top button