Cameroon Confiscates Starlink Equipment as Service Shutdown Looms


Cameroon has been seizing Starlink kits at its borders due to the Internet service provider lacking a license in the country. Starlink plans to discontinue service in regions where it isn’t licensed, including Cameroon, on April 30. Cameroonian authorities worry about Starlink’s impact on the national telecommunications and Internet provider, Camtel.

In a notice to customs personnel, Cameroon Customs Director General Fongod Edwin Nuvaga acknowledged the presence of imported Starlink equipment and emphasized its potential threat to national security. He highlighted that this technology, known for providing unrestricted, ultra-fast internet connection, operates without oversight from the Telecommunications Regulatory Board. Nuvaga emphasized ongoing seizure of Starlink equipment until proper licensing and regulation by the telecoms regulator is ensured. Concerns expressed by Cameroonian authorities include unfair competition, fraudulent commercial activities, exploitation of Starlink terminals, and risks related to personal data.

Additionally, Starlink has been requested to halt services for Cameroonians until it obtains official licensing, purportedly to safeguard the market. In an email notification to roaming customers, Starlink explained that its regional and global roaming plans are meant for temporary use by travelers, not for permanent utilization in unauthorized areas. The provider emphasized that using a Starlink kit in an unauthorized location violates the company’s Terms & Conditions. Following the April 2024 deadline, subscribers away from authorized regions for more than two months must either relocate or update their account country to avoid disconnection.

Numerous African nations are imposing restrictions on satellite internet providers, citing licensing and regulatory concerns. In Zimbabwe, the telecom regulator instructed Starlink to disconnect users in April 2024, following a previous announcement in January that distributors and users would face arrest. Conversely, Ghana’s National Communications Authority recently granted approval for Starlink to operate, making Ghana the eighth African country to endorse the satellite internet service, despite previous legal challenges.



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