Safaricom Ethiopia’s Expansion Exceeds Expectations with 4 Cities Shy of March 2023 Target

Safaricom Ethiopia CEO Anwar Soussa

Safaricom services in Ethiopia are a done deal, and most of the work has been completed over the course of 2022. While commercial launch was expected to be live as early as August this year, this roll-out was delayed to two months later in October.

Now, we have learned that the telco launched its network and services in Hawassa, as well as expanding to four other cities in the past few weeks: Assela, Jigjiga, Sodo, and Dilla.


Customers in these cities can now purchase SIM cards, choose their preferred phone numbers, buy airtime, and access customer support at Safaricom Ethiopia branded shops.

The launch of the “07” network in these five cities brings Safaricom Ethiopia’s total coverage to 21 cities across the country.

As part of the expansion, Safaricom Ethiopia is promoting its products and services through activations in universities, open markets, distributor shops, and roadshows in all 21 cities.

Customers who buy SIM cards, airtime, and all-network packages will also receive Gursha packages as a reward.

The company thanked the Ethiopian government, regional governments, the Ethiopian Communications Authority, shareholders, and partners for their support in the expansion.

Since it started serving customers, the telco has since launched the following products in Ethiopia:

  • Prepay products- Data, Voice, SMS
  • Digital EKYC process
  • Outsourced call centre – over 500 agents
  • Branded range of Safaricom devices – 2G, 4G feature phones, 4G smartphones
  • PostPay, VAS products, and digital products on the roadmap

The carrier also has 561 active 2G/3G/4G sites, 2 data centres, 931 sites under construction, and 49 shared sites.

Furthermore, 61 of the total sites are shared, having signed all tower-sharing agreements.

The said staff includes 479 Ethiopians and 176 ex-pats, making them 655.

There are 66 distributor shops, 2000 sim-selling shops, and 652 call centre staff.

By September 30, Safaricom Ethiopia had onboarded 180K customers, who jumped to 740K at the end of October.

Towards the end of November, Safaricom Ethiopia has more than 1 million customers.

Safaricom says it is committed to providing commercial services in 25 cities and meeting Safaricom Ethiopia’s License network coverage obligations (25% population) required by March 2023.

This means that it is four cities away from meeting that goal, and it is likely this will be done before the March 2023 deadline.