- There were 17.9 million internet users in Kenya in January 2023
- Last week, Safaricom Plc announced plans to launch satellite Internet services, signaling an apparent competition with Starlink.
Elon Musk’s Starlink has appointed Karibu Connect as its first authorised reseller for satellite internet, days after Safaricom Plc announced plans to offer a similar product.
"This marks a significant step in the company's mission to eliminate the digital divide and enhance the connectivity infrastructure across the country,'' Starlink said in a statement.
Operated by American aerospace company SpaceX, it offers a revolutionary satellite internet service that uses a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.
Unlike traditional satellite internet, Starlink provides high-speed, low-latency connectivity, supporting services not possible with traditional satellite technology.
"With a global customer base exceeding 1.5 million subscribers, Starlink is at the forefront of transforming the global internet connectivity landscape. It is now available for sale in Kenya,'' Musk tweeted.
Karibu Connect is expected to supply the internet to diverse sectors in rural Kenya.
Karibu Connect CEO John Thuo said the significance of this collaboration is a substantial progression in a mission to deliver affordable, high-quality internet access to all corners of Kenya.
"The deployment of Starlink’s groundbreaking technology will revolutionize how rural Kenya engages with the global community, fostering societal progress and driving economic growth,'' he said.
Last week, Safaricom Plc announced plans to launch satellite Internet services, signaling an apparent competition with Starlink.
Safaricom will offer the service through a partnership with Starlink’s rival AST SpaceMobile, which has signed agreements with the telco’s ultimate parent firm Vodafone Group Plc.
Vodafone is one of the investors in AST SpaceMobile.
"After successful completion of the trial, AST SpaceMobile will scale up their satellite deployments in partnership with Vodacom to provide ubiquitous communications to 4G devices across Africa and beyond,'' Safaricom's parent firm said in an annual report.
This is likely to solidify Kenya's internet penetration which is currently at 32.7 per cent, among the best in the continent. There were 17.9 million internet users in Kenya in January 2023.
On its website, Starlink says it is capable of delivering speeds of over 150Mbps to any place on the planet, as long as its satellite dish has a clear view of the sky.
Experts are happy that the satellite internet will not only help increase penetration but will also boost speed and help cut costs.
"The announcement by both Starlink and Safaricom is the best news for Internet users in the country. The competition will deliver both speed and cost prepositions,'' IT specialist Dan Agaromba told the Star.