Are you using or planning on using Starlink in Zimbabwe on roaming? Then you better brace yourself for some bad news. SpaceX’s satellite internet service, announces major price increases for its roaming services. This news comes as a blow to many Zimbabweans who have come to rely on Starlink for reliable and high-speed internet in a country where established players have been charging a fortune for basic connectivity.

Starlink’s Growing Popularity in Zimbabwe

Starlink has not officially launched its services in Zimbabwe, forcing users to rely on roaming services by purchasing kits from neighbouring countries such as Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique. Despite this workaround, Starlink has gained a strong following due to its ability to deliver high-speed internet in remote and underserved areas. However, the upcoming price hikes pose a significant challenge for the many Zimbabweans who have come to depend on this service. As of August 2024, the cost of Starlink roaming will increase substantially, aligning more closely with the higher prices observed in other regions.

Current and New Pricing Structures

Currently, Starlink roaming users in Zimbabwe, who have registered their service addresses in neighbouring countries, pay different amounts based on the country of registration. Here is a comparison of the current and new prices in various neighbouring countries:

  • Zambia: ZMW2,500 (~R1,772 or ~$95 USD) per month (up from ZMW1,000)
  • Mozambique: MZN22,000 (~R2,134 or ~$116 USD) per month
  • Malawi: MWK600,000 (~R1,845 or ~$100 USD) per month
  • Eswatini: R6,800 for hardware and R1,900 (~$103 USD) per month
  • Rwanda: RWF460,000 (~R6,521 for hardware) and RWF128,000 (~R1,828 or ~$99 USD) per month

These increases represent a significant jump from the previous rates, with some prices nearly doubling. For example, in Zambia, the cost has risen from ZMW1,000 to ZMW2,500, marking a 150% increase.

Comparing Starlink with Local Broadband Options

Here is a detailed comparison of Starlink’s new prices with local broadband packages from various Zimbabwean providers:

ProviderPackagePrice in Local CurrencyPrice in USDData Allocation
Starlink (Zambia Roaming)ZambiaZMW2,500$95Uncapped
Starlink (Mozambique Roaming)MozambiqueMZN22,000$116Uncapped
Starlink (Malawi Roaming)MalawiMWK600,000$100Uncapped
Starlink (Eswatini Roaming)EswatiniR1,900$103Uncapped
Starlink (Rwanda Roaming)RwandaRWF128,000$99Uncapped
Liquid Home (Zimbabwe)FibroniX Family EntertainmentZiG 3,054$218Up to 100Mbps, 30 days
Liquid Home (Zimbabwe)FibroniX Modern FamilyZiG 4,090$292Up to 150Mbps, 30 days
Liquid Home (Zimbabwe)FibroniX SpeeD 555US$99$99400GB + 155GB
TelOne (Zimbabwe)Premium PackageUS$60$60Up to 100Mbps, 30 days
TelOne (Zimbabwe)Modern Family PackageUS$90$90Up to 150Mbps, 30 days
Utande (Zimbabwe)Business StandardUS$145$145Up to 15Mbps, Unlimited
Utande (Zimbabwe)Business ProUS$200$200Up to 20Mbps, Unlimited
Utande (Zimbabwe)Business MaxUS$230$230Up to 30Mbps, Unlimited
Econet SmartBiz (Zimbabwe)SmartBiz 5US$70$70Up to 5Mbps, FUP
Econet SmartBiz (Zimbabwe)SmartBiz 10US$99$99Up to 10Mbps, FUP
Econet SmartBiz (Zimbabwe)SmartBiz 20US$259$259Up to 20Mbps, FUP
Econet SmartBiz (Zimbabwe)SmartBiz 50US$450$450Up to 50Mbps, FUP

The Impact on Zimbabwean Users

The price hikes for Starlink roaming will undoubtedly strain the affordability of reliable internet for many Zimbabweans. However, it’s important to note that Starlink’s roaming fees, even after the increase, might still be cheaper than traditional broadband options offering comparable speeds.

A Silver Lining: Starlink’s Official Launch in Zimbabwe

Despite the roaming price challenges, there’s a positive development. Starlink’s recent licensing approval in Zimbabwe paves the way for a local rollout by IMC Communications. These official services are expected to offer more stable and regulated pricing, with plans starting at $38 per month for 50Mbps, potentially offsetting the cost increases for roaming users.