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Renson Mwakandana

Safaricom said on Thursday that it will begin offering paid services in Ethiopia in August. The firm, which is a member of the Vodafone group, has come under increasing criticism because it didn’t begin as planned in April 2022 as promised.

Safaricom stated that “it is on course to a phased launch of its network and services in the country and is conducting rigorous tests to ensure the provision of quality services,” during a press conference on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

An image showing the Safaricom team at the press conference in Ethiopia /The Star/

Beginning in August 2022, a phased commercial launch will turn on the network in 25 cities throughout the nation by April 2023.

According to Matthew Harrison-Harvey, chief external affairs and regulatory officer, “Safaricom Ethiopia is looking forward to switching on our network and services, starting with Dire Dawa from August 2022 and 24 other cities in phases across the country in the coming months.”

Matthew Harrison-Harvey, chief external affairs and regulatory officer at Safaricom /Capital FM/

“Currently, we are in a testing period to ensure that when we switch on, we will deliver a quality experience for Ethiopians. We are working to fulfil our commitment to building the long-term foundations for our contribution to Ethiopia’s digital transformation and inclusion objectives to transform lives for a digital future.”

Safaricom said that the agreement between them and Ethio-telecom to share infrastructure is “progressing well.”

Harrison-Harvey stated, “We are happy with the telecom infrastructural sharing agreement.” A deal was made in April between Safaricom and Ethio-telecom to share tower, interconnection, and cell site assets in Ethiopia.

The business has made investments in its network and building infrastructure since the license was granted in July 2021, including its own mobile radio towers, national transmission network, and wholesale agreements for international connections.

Safaricom stated that it had invested $1 billion (including the Telecoms License fee), imported equipment worth over $300 million, developed its core network, IT, goods, and services, established up a call center, and constructed two data centers.

An image showing Safaricom Ethiopia’s first data center /Business info Ethiopia/

The business has hired a management team and professionals for the commercial launch in addition to the infrastructure, giving workers professional and skill development opportunities. 500 employees have been hired, 320 of them are Ethiopian.

The first commercial telecom business in Ethiopia, Safaricom, describes itself as a purpose-driven technology and communication company dedicated to supporting Addis Ababa’sgoal for inclusiveness and digital transformation.

In July 2021, a license to run telecom services in Ethiopia was granted to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia, which consists of Safaricom Plc, Vodacom Group, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation, and British International Investment (formerly known as CDC Group). Thus, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC was registered by the group.

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