Botswana rejects Musk’s satellite internet application, leaving Starlink stranded.

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With a planned launch date of Q4 2024, Starlink has had its application to launch in Botswana rejected

Starlink’s dream of reaching every corner of Earth has encountered a roadblock in Botswana. The low-orbit satellite service, owned by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, was denied its application to operate in the African nation ahead of a planned Q4 2024 launch. 

While Starlink submitted its application to launch in May 2023, the regulator found that the company did not share all the necessary information. It is unclear which information Starlink did not provide in its original application.

“There were issues regarding missing requirements with the application, which were identified and pointed out,” said a source at Botswana’s Communication Authority. ”They are yet to respond to the issues.”

To operate in Botswana, applicants like Starlink must pay an application fee of P5,600, an annual licence fee of up to P386,000 (~$28,500), and 3% of annual operating revenue.

Starlink continues to face regulatory pushbacks in Southern Africa. The South African government rejected its application for failing to comply with a mandatory requirement of 30% ownership for historically disadvantaged people.

In Zimbabwe, legislators based their rejection of Starlink’s application on an EU investigation into X, the Musk-owned social media platform. However, Starlink is licenced in Zambia, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.