Thu. Feb 25th, 2021

Starlink pre-orders for South Africa now open, service expected in 2022

South African residents can now pre-order Elon Musk’s low-latency, high-speed internet option, Starlink. Do note that Starlink isn’t available in South Africa just yet, but you can reserve your spot in the meantime. SpaceX began deploying Starlink satellites in 2019, and the service should be available in South Africa by 2022. Here’s what you need […]

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South African residents can now pre-order Elon Musk’s low-latency, high-speed internet option, Starlink. Do note that Starlink isn’t available in South Africa just yet, but you can reserve your spot in the meantime.

SpaceX began deploying Starlink satellites in 2019, and the service should be available in South Africa by 2022. Here’s what you need to know.

Starlink in South Africa

Elon Musk’s Starlink initiative will eventually see 4 409 satellites launched into orbit; followed by an additional 7 518 that will do their work at a slightly lower altitude. The satellite system will provide global internet coverage.

While the service is not available to the public at this stage, Musk once tweeted while being connected to the network.

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Image via Twitter

SpaceX confirmed in a press release back in 2019 that the company will be taking steps to “responsibly scale Starlink’s total network capacity and data density” to meet the growth of users’ anticipated needs.

SpaceX has to date launched 1 085 satellites, of which 1 021 are currently in orbit around Earth. The next launch is scheduled for 15 February 2021, at 22:59 Pacific Time (or 5:59 South African Standard Time on Tuesday).

It’s still a long way until 2022 rolls by, but you can sign up and put down a deposit in the meantime. The website informs that “Starlink is available to a limited number of users per coverage area at this time”. I’m on the West Rand in Gauteng and was informed during preordering that Starlink will be targeting coverage in my area in 2022, but availability is limited.

In addition, orders “will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis”. The preorder fee of $99 (R1 430) is fully refundable, and SpaceX warns that placing a deposit does not necessarily guarantee service.

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Image via Adobe Stock

It’s going to be a pricy affair. The Starlink system will be priced at $99 per month, with an additional $499 (R7 200) required upfront for the “Starlink Kit”. Said starter kit includes user terminal to connect to the satellites, a mounting tripod and a Wi-Fi router. SpaceX explains that the mounting tripod is “designed for ground-level installation”.

“[…] or to support a quick start setup to test your internet connection. For users that require a roof install, roof mounts are available by signing into your account”.

Licence to operate in South Africa

As reported by Africa News, Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is currently in conversation with SpaceX regarding its licence to operate in South Africa.

To that effect, SpaceX requires an Individual Electronic Communications Network Service (I-ECNS) and Individual Electronics Communications Service license. As per ICASA:

“ICASA had a brief meeting with SpaceX about the regulatory requirements last week. A further meeting will be held in due course on the same matter”.

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