SpaceX Lowers Starlink Kit Pricing for Resellers, Africa to Benefit

StarSat Africa, a major importer of Starlink kits to South Africa, has announced plans to reduce the prices of its equipment by 13% to 20% in the coming weeks.

The Mozambique-based company anticipates lowering the current R14,999 ($793 USD) price tag on Starlink kits to a range between R12,000 and R13,000 ($635 USD to $688 USD), potentially dropping even further despite additional surcharges from Eswatini and Lesotho governments, reports MyBroadband.

StarSat Africa, which facilitates the import and delivery of Starlink units to 17 Sub-Saharan African countries, including Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, credits the price reduction to SpaceX’s decreased prices on bulk Starlink purchases. This adjustment aims to align StarSat Africa’s pricing more closely with the US and UK Starlink kit prices, making it more affordable for consumers across the region.

Rwanda currently boasts the lowest Starlink kit price in Africa at 485,000 Rwandan francs (about $380 USD), with other countries showing varied pricing. Despite the possibility of importing kits to South Africa from these countries, StarSat Africa’s price includes all shipping, VAT, and import fees, offering a comprehensive solution to customers.

The company has experienced a surge in demand, leading to a four-month turnaround for orders, including backorders for Namibia and South Africa. However, StarSat Africa expects to resolve these backlogs by the end of March, promising a 48-hour delivery time thereafter.

Customers ordering through StarSat Africa are required to stay with the provider for a minimum of three months due to SpaceX’s kit re-registration limits. In return, StarSat Africa offers a two-year warranty on equipment failures, with a two-day priority delivery for replacements.

For those seeking alternative import options, IcasaSePush charges R17,998 for a Starlink kit and associated services, with a four to six-week turnaround. This option allows customers to register directly with Starlink, offering full control over their account from the outset.

Despite Starlink’s unavailability in South Africa due to regulatory hurdles, its roaming services are operational, offering superior speeds compared to other satellite and cellular networks in rural areas. However, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has declared the use of Starlink illegal without the necessary licences, a stance echoed by regulatory bodies in Zimbabwe and Botswana.

SpaceX has sought regulatory approval in these countries, but challenges remain, particularly in South Africa, due to ISP ownership rules. Unlike other international satellite providers, Starlink’s direct-to-customer model for residential packages complicates its entry into the South African market, despite its enterprise division partnering with resellers.

Starlink’s global satellite internet will change lives for those connecting to high-speed internet, especially in Africa. It will open up doors for advanced education and business opportunities for those able to connect online.