Starlink, via its Twitter account, announced that it has just launched in the East African country of Mozambique.
The launch in Mozambique represents Starlink’s 57th commercial market as well as the third African country it is available in (if you exclude Réunion).
Previously, Starlink entered Nigeria (02.2023) and Rwanda (03.2023).
The Residential package, Starlink’s most commonly adopted plan, is priced at MZN3,000 (~ US$47) per month, which is roughly in line with what Nigerian and Rwandan consumers are being charged.
Additionally, hardware costs another MZN40,492 (~ US$ 633), plus shipment and handling fees of MZN1,530 (~ US$24).
Make sure to check our global price list for an updated version of all the countries Starlink is available in.
Starlink likely ships its terminals from distribution centers in Europe or America, which would explain the comparatively higher hardware fees.
Interestingly, Starlink has been approved by the country’s telecom regulator, dubbed Instituto Nacional das Comunicações de Moçambique (INCM), since May 2022 according to a tweet by Musk himself.
Why it took SpaceX this long to launch Starlink in the country remains unclear at this point. Regardless, Starlink’s introduction to Mozambique should signify a boost to the country’s economy.
Mozambique, with a population of over 30 million people but an internet adoption rate of around 25 percent, stands to greatly benefit from the launch of Starlink.
In Rwanda, for example, Starlink worked with the government to provide 500 high schools with internet access. Industries such as tourism or healthcare could also receive a huge boost.
With that said, it remains to be seen how steep the adoption curve among African consumers will truly be.
Mozambique is one of the poorer countries in the region with a GDP per capita of less than US$500 (which is lower than the hardware fee itself). Partnerships with government entities and non-profit organizations are thus of the essence.
Update 04/06/2023: Starlink just sent an email to subscribers in Mozambique to align expectations.
Right now, there are now ground stations that the signals are being routed through.
Instead, Starlink will rely on inter-satellite links (ISL), meaning the signal passes through multiple satellites to the nearest ground station (likely the one in Nigeria).
From there, it travels back to the user terminal, which consequently explains the higher latency users will experience.
Starlink says that the service is expected to improve “dramatically over the next year”, likely hinting at the fact that more nearby ground stations are in the works.
Until then, users will likely have to cope with worse performance. They can, however, return their hardware kit 90 days after ordering (instead of the common 30 days).