Potraz assessing Starlink’s application: Mavetera

Source: Potraz assessing Starlink’s application: Mavetera -Newsday Zimbabwe

The government is waiting for the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to complete assessing Starlink’s application to operate in the country, a Cabinet minister has said.

Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services minister Tatenda Mavetera told Parliament last week that Potraz was still seized with the licensing of the American internet giant.

 

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 underway.

Mavetera told legislators during a question and answer session in Parliament that the government welcomes new technologies to enhance Zimbabwe’s digital infrastructure.

“We are very much welcome to any other technologies to make sure that we enhance our digital footprint as a country. For the one that we spoke about of course it is a specific question but because it is quite any issue that everyone would want to hear about.

 

 

“Starlink has applied and we are waiting upon Potraz to finalise the licensing after that we can be able to see it coming through,” Mavetera said.

The government’s promise to license Starlink comes despite authorities swooping on those using the service.

On February 22, a Guruve-based Chinese mining company, San He, was fined US$$700 by a Bindura magistrate for using Starlink equipment in violation of provisions of the Postal and Telecommunications Act.

 

 

According to the National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe (NPAZ), San He’s unlawful use of Starlink equipment came to light on December 5, 2023 when the police received a report from Potraz.

Zambezi Boutique (Private) Limited, a Victoria Falls-based company, was fined US$500 for unauthorised use of Starlink internet services.

According to the NPAZ, the company was found guilty by a Victoria Falls magistrate of violating the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05], which prohibits the “possession, control or operation of a radio station without a radio station licence.”

Last week, Women’s Affairs minister Monica Mutsvangwa’s son Neville was arrested over alleged illegal foreign currency trading and possessing Starlink equipment.

Starlink is currently available in several African countries, including Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya and Malawi.

The primary benefit of Starlink is that it offers faster speeds and lower latency in remote areas where satellite and cellular internet are the only options.

It is way cheaper, uncapped and faster than services offered by local providers.

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