Elon Musk’s SpaceX is taking the first steps to close the black market for Starlink. Users connecting to the service from countries where the service does not officially work will be blocked. This was reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Starlink customers in Sudan, Zimbabwe and South Africa have received notices from the company warning that their access to the service will be terminated by the end of the month. The emails stated that the use of Starlink in areas where it has not been approved by local regulators is against the company’s terms of service.

“The availability of our mobile tariff plans is subject to various factors, including regulatory approvals,” the letters said, referring to Starlink’s roaming products, which allow subscribers to use its Internet services in different countries.

The notices were sent days after the magazine published an investigation into a growing black market that has allowed unscrupulous users, including Russian military units fighting in Ukraine, to circumvent local regulatory restrictions on Starlink.

Since the launch of the first Starlink satellites in 2019, SpaceX has been rushing to gain approval from regulators around the world. As of the end of March, according to the company, 72 companies have granted Starlink authorization.

Among the jurisdictions that have not approved the service are India and most of Africa. The service is also not available in Russia and China, and SpaceX is in no hurry to provide services in these regions, according to the official Starlink availability map.

However, it is possible to circumvent the restrictions. Attackers usually buy terminals in countries where this is allowed and then subscribe to one of the company’s roaming packages. In countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Mozambique, intermediary companies have emerged that offer to activate Starlink and send kits to users in places where the service is not officially available.

In its emails sent to users these days, Starlink said that its regional roaming plans “are intended for temporary travel and transit, not for permanent use in a particular location.”

Users who roam for more than two months without returning to the country where they ordered their device will face service restrictions.

Recently, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy John Plumb said that representatives of the Pentagon, Ukraine, and SpaceX are working to prevent the use of Starlink by the Russian occupiers.

The Ukrainian military began using Starlink shortly after the Russian invasion in 2022. Later it turned out that the occupiers were also using this technology. Later, it became known that the Ministry of Digital Transformation is working with SpaceX to disable Starlink from the Russian occupiers.