Chinese company fined US$700 for using Starlink internet in Zimbabwe

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A Zimbabwean magistrate has fined a Chinese mining company, SAN HE Mining, US$700 for illegally using Starlink internet, highlighting the country’s lack of clear regulations for the satellite-based internet service and raising concerns about its commitment to competing on the global technology stage.

Starlink is currently not licensed in Zimbabwe.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed the development, saying that by using Elon Musk’s satellite internet service, SAN HE Mining contravened the Postal and Telecommunications Act.

“SAN HE Mining company in Guruve was sentenced to pay a fine of USD700 by a Bindura Magistrate for contravening the Postal and Telecommunications Act ‘willfully possessing and or operating a radio station without a license or authorization from the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).”

It is noted that, on the 5th of December 2023, the Police received a report from POTRAZ to the effect that the company was using StarLink equipment.

The Police proceeded to the mine, where they recovered the Starlink router and antenna.

After touring a technological station that has the capacity to monitor the entire city from a single control room in Dubai last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa admitted that Zimbabwe is 1000 years behind in terms of technology.

“We are almost 1000 years behind in terms of technology when you look at what is happening here. I didn’t know such technology existed,” he confessed.

Starlink’s operation currently contravenes Zimbabwean regulations, which mandate licensing for all telecommunication services.

POTRAZ, the regulatory body demands Starlink adhere to established procedures and obtain the necessary licenses before initiation to avoid potential interference with existing services.


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