In a significant move to boost internet connectivity across Africa, Elon Musk’s Starlink has partnered with Jumia Technologies AG. This collaboration positions Jumia as one of the first companies in Africa to offer Starlink’s satellite broadband services through a sales and distribution agreement.
Expanding Services in Africa
Starlink, a subsidiary of Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., will be expanding its satellite broadband services in Africa. The initial launch of this partnership will take place in Nigeria, with other African nations to follow.
“We have seen Starlink do these types of deals in Southeast Asia and South America, and now Africa will also have the opportunity to access the fast-speed internet services,” Hisham El Gabry, Jumia’s Chief Commercial Officer said. “The plan is to start selling through our sites and agents in Nigeria this month, and then Kenya.”
Jumia, an e-commerce firm with investors like Pernod Ricard SA and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., will sell Starlink’s satellite terminals and kits in select African countries. This strategic partnership allows Jumia to leverage its established business models, transportation network, and experience in navigating the retail and merchandise landscape in Africa.
Overcoming Connectivity Challenges
While big tech firms have explored creative approaches to bring high-speed internet to Africa, their efforts have often fallen short, leading them to return to conventional fiber and undersea cable infrastructure. However, Elon Musk’s network of thousands of small satellites communicating through user terminals holds the potential for connecting people on expansive continents.
The cost of a standard Starlink terminal in Nigeria is priced at 450,000 naira ($587), which could pose a barrier for some users. Despite this, the partnership between Jumia and Starlink is a significant step towards improving internet coverage in rural and unreached areas globally.
The cost of a standard Starlink terminal in Kenya is priced at Ksh 89,000 ($628), with an additional shipping fee of Ksh 3,100 ($21.88). The monthly subscription charge is Ksh 6,500 ($45.89).
Jumia plans to eventually distribute Starlink’s products within its 11 African market presence. This partnership not only enhances internet connectivity across the continent but also positions Jumia as a key player in this sector, providing them with a unique competitive edge and potentially bolstering their market share and influence within the region.