Elon Musk’s Starlink project, aimed at providing global satellite internet coverage, has encountered a setback in its expansion plans in Africa, with the Botswana Communication Authority denying the satellite company permission to operate in the African nation.
Starlink submitted its application in May 2023, but the regulatory body flagged the company for not providing all the necessary information. The specific details of the missing information have, however, not been disclosed.
A source within Botswana’s Communication Authority mentioned, “There were issues regarding missing requirements with the application, which were identified and pointed out. They are yet to respond to the issues.” The lack of transparency raises questions about the completeness of Starlink’s initial submission and the nature of the undisclosed information.
To obtain operational rights in Botswana, applicants, including Starlink, are required to pay an application fee, an annual license fee, and contribute a percentage of their annual operating revenue. The rejection in Botswana adds to the regulatory challenges Starlink faces in Southern Africa.
The South African government also recently rejected Starlink’s application, and Zimbabwe legislators based their rejection on an EU investigation into a social media platform owned by Elon Musk. Despite these setbacks, Starlink has secured licenses in other Southern African countries, such as Zambia, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.
Botswana’s rejection makes Starlink’s launch, slated for the fourth quarter of 2024, uncertain. The company is expected to address the identified issues to move forward.