TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX said May 27 that Nigeria has joined Mozambique as the first countries in Africa to approve its Starlink broadband services.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced the regulatory clearance in Africa via Twitter a few hours after tweeting that Starlink had been approved in the Philippines, the first country in Southeast Asia to grant it permission to provide services.

Starlink’s regulatory approvals mean the low Earth orbit network “is now licensed on all seven continents,” SpaceX’s Twitter account added.

Nigeria-based publication Nairametrics reported that the Nigerian Communications Commission confirmed it had licensed Starlink following Musk’s tweet.

According to the Nairametrics report, Starlink was licensed as an internet service provider (ISP), which is a category terrestrial telcos also fall into, and the license will be up for renewal in 10 years.

Starlink has been working to secure regulatory approval in Nigeria for at least a year. 

NCC said in a news release last year that SpaceX executives had met with the regulator May 6, 2021, to discuss providing Starlink services. The Nigerian telecoms regulator said SpaceX sent a delegation to the country after holding discussions virtually over the previous several months.

Mozambique’s telecoms regulator INCM said in a Feb. 22 news release that it intended to deliver a license for Starlink services Feb. 23.

“One of Starlink’s big bets is to provide ultra-fast broadband to the African Continent by the end of 2022, which will allow expansion to a greater number of people and places, with emphasis on rural areas and others not served until today,” INCM said in the news release.

Starlink’s coverage map currently shows plans to start providing services to Africa — and the majority of regions where the network is currently unavailable — in 2023.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...