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Starlink enters the Kenyan telecommunication market and becomes a threat to Safaricom

Starlink, a satellite internet provider company founded by South African billionaire Elon Musk, has launched services in the Kenyan market, paving the way for more intense rivalry with regional rivals such as Safaricom, Jamii, Telecommunications Limited, and Zuku, according to Business Insider Africa.

The company announced on July 18, 2023, that it had received regulatory approval from the Kenyan government to provide satellite internet services in the country. Starlink is now available for pre-order in Kenya, with a starting price of Ksh 74,216 ($599).

The purchase of a terminal to allow the connections will cost a Kenyan home user Ksh 89,000 ($628) plus a Ksh 3,100 ($21.88) delivery fee, while the monthly membership rate will be Ksh 6,500 ($45.89).

The multinational company aims to offer impressive download speeds of up to 250 Mbps and upload rates of up to 35 Mbps to Kenyan users.

Starlink's entry into Kenya is a major development for the country's internet landscape. Kenya has a high rate of internet penetration, but many people in rural areas still lack access to reliable and affordable internet. Starlink's high-speed, low-latency internet service could help to bridge the digital divide in Kenya and provide rural communities with access to the internet for the first time.

Starlink's arrival in Kenya also comes at a time when the country is facing increasing competition from other satellite internet providers. In January 2023, Safaricom, Kenya's leading mobile operator, announced plans to launch its own satellite internet service. Safaricom's service is expected to be more affordable than Starlink, but it is unclear when it will be available.

One massive leverage that Starlink has over Safaricom is that is it backed by Elon Musk, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. This gives Starlink a significant advantage in terms of funding and resources. Safaricom, on the other hand, is a publicly traded company that is subject to the demands of its shareholders. This could make it more difficult for Safaricom to invest in new technologies, such as satellite internet.

Another important difference which gives Starlink leverage over Safaricom is its scalability. Indeed, Starlink's business model is far more scalable than Safaricom's. Starlink can deploy its satellites quickly and easily, which means that it can reach new markets more quickly than Safaricom. This could give Starlink a significant advantage in the long run.

In addition to be a direct threat to Safaricom, Starlink also poses some potential risks to Safaricom. For example, Starlink's satellites could interfere with Safaricom's own satellite communications. Additionally, Starlink's low-cost internet service could put pressure on Safaricom's pricing, which could lead to lower profits for the company.

Overall, the arrival of Starlink in Kenya is a significant development for the country's telecommunications market. It remains to be seen whether Starlink will pose a serious threat to Safaricom, but the company is certainly a force to be reckoned with.


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