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Starlink operations illegal in Ghana - NCA warns
Starlink operations illegal in Ghana - NCA warns

Elon Musk's Starlink operations illegal in Ghana - NCA warns

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has announced that the operation of Starlink in Ghana is illegal.

In a press release issued on December 7, 2023, the NCA explained that it has not licensed Starlink, the satellite internet service provided by SpaceX, to operate in Ghana and has also not approved any of Starlink's equipment. 

This means that any entity selling Starlink equipment or providing Starlink services in Ghana is in direct violation of the Electronic Communications Act 2008.

The NCA in the release warned the public against purchasing any equipment or services from Starlink.

It also warned any individuals or companies involved in the sale or operation of Starlink services in Ghana to cease and desist immediately.

The NCA assured the public that it will continue to ensure fair competition in the market and protect licensees and consumers.

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On its website, Starlink indicates that it is targeting service in Ghana in the third quarter of 2024. It adds that availability is subject to regulatory approval.

However, some middlemen are already cashing in the service in Ghana, quoting installation prices ranging between GH¢1,100 and GH¢18,000 monthly.

What does this mean for Starlink users in Ghana?

It is unclear what the implications of this announcement will be for Starlink users in Ghana.

The NCA has not yet announced any specific enforcement actions. 

However, it is possible that vendors could be sanctioned or have their equipment confiscated.

It is also possible that the NCA will negotiate with Starlink to obtain a license to operate in Ghana.

This would allow Starlink to continue providing services to its customers in Ghana.

What is Starlink?

Starlink is a constellation of LEO satellites launched by SpaceX to provide satellite internet access across the globe.

The system is designed to bring high-speed internet even to hard-to-reach areas.

Starlink facing pushback across Africa

Regulators in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Senegal have recently issued similar warnings to the public and Starlink resellers operating without permission.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa said November 28 that Starlink products were being distributed in South Africa without a license from within the country and from neighbouring countries. 

Those providing Starlink services in South Africa without permission could face a fine of around $264,000 or 10% of their annual turnover for every day the offence continued, whichever is greater, the regulator warned.

Starlink is cleared to operate elsewhere in Africa, including Nigeria and Mozambique, the first countries on the continent to approve the network last year.

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