The road to launching services in Ethiopia has been long for Safaricom. After lots of bidding and going through multiple regulatory approvals, Safaricom was granted the license to start its operations in Ethiopia sometime in mid-2021. This meant that Ethiopians could now enjoy the services of one of Africa’s leading telco, whose success story in Kenya has been admired widely across the globe.
Now, a couple of weeks ago, we started notifying you of the developments that have been taking place in Ethiopia as far as offering services to locals was concerned. First, Safaricom Ethiopia launched its services to residents of Dire Dawa. Days later, it took its network to two additional cities. The services were fully-fledged, meaning customers could purchase SIM cards and airtime. The carrier was also giving them some free data, voice, and SMS units as a welcoming gift into its network.
We also reported that the official unveiling of Safaricom Ethiopia was to happen sometime in October, this year. This was a delay because we had expected the telco to be up and running, at least officially, in August.
Nevertheless, the day has finally arrived, and Safaricom Ethiopia is now official.
This development is marked by the launch of Safaricom Ethiopia services in the state’s capital Addis Ababa.
It has also been revealed that Safaricom Ethiopia’s 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile services are available in 11 cities as of today. That number will go up to 25 cities by April 2023, which will then cover 25 percent of Ethiopia’s 120 million people.
To note, Safaricom Ethiopia is also building a wholly-owned mobile network and also has infrastructure sharing and interconnection agreements in place with Ethio Telecom. It is also the rival to Ethio, which is run by the state and has since launched 5G services, albeit in a pilot phase.
Safaricom Ethiopia is owned by an international consortium including Vodafone Group; Safaricom PLC; Vodacom Group; Sumitomo Corporation.
Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom PLC, said: “For two decades, Safaricom PLC has combined the power of technology and our innovative spirit to solve customer and societal challenges. Led by our Purpose to Transform Lives, we have deepened digital and financial inclusion in Kenya by connecting people to people, people to opportunities, and people to information. With these lessons and experiences, we look forward to positively impacting the people of Ethiopia with a sustainable and quality mobile network that will be a vital launch pad for nationwide digital telecommunications services to over 118 million Ethiopians.”