SpaceX’s Starlink has entered into a partnership with e-commerce company Jumia Technologies AG to expand its satellite broadband services in Africa. Sales will start in the coming weeks and will begin in Nigeria.
Jumia intends to begin selling Starlink satellite terminals in select African countries in the coming weeks. Sales will begin in Nigeria, Jumia Chief Commercial Officer Hisham El Gabry said in an interview. The company will benefit significantly from the agreement, concluding the first deal to sell and distribute SpaceX’s Starlink kits on the continent.
“We have seen Starlink do these type of deals in Southeast Asia and South America, and now Africa will also have the opportunity to access the fast-speed internet services,” said El Gabry. “The plan is to start selling through our sites and agents in Nigeria this month, and then Kenya.”
The partnership with Jumia is important because it will help Starlink sell terminals in areas where there are no official addresses or city maps, which are common in African countries. Thanks to the installation of Starlink terminals, such regions will have access to broadband services. The continent has the lowest internet penetration rate in the world. Providers face infrastructure deployment problems, while Starlink does not need to lay cables.
To date, many large companies have tried to provide the continent with internet, but have failed. Facebook tried to build a giant drone to provide high-altitude communications on the continent, but the project was later stopped. Google tried to do something similar with balloons but canceled the project two years ago. For now, a Starlink constellation of thousands of small satellites has the best chance of success.
Jumia plans to eventually sell Starlink products in the 11 African countries in which it operates, El Gabry said. Starlink confirmed the deal without adding any additional details.