Safaricom Ethiopia switches on network
Safaricom Ethiopia has switched on its mobile telecommunications network and services in Addis Ababa.
According to a statement released by the media, Safaricom Ethiopia’s 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services are available in 11 cities from today, including the capital and the country’s second largest city Dire Dawa.
The company plans to launch services in a total of 25 cities by April 2023 to meet the 25% population coverage obligation in its licence.
Safaricom Ethiopia is building a wholly-owned mobile network and also has infrastructure sharing and interconnection agreements in place with Ethio Telecom.
The Ethiopian government launched Digital Ethiopia 2025 to help the country realise its digital potential and leverage technology to build a more prosperous society. As part of that process, Safaricom Ethiopia was granted a nationwide full-service Unified Telecommunications Service Licence.
It also became the first company in the country to launch a competitive mobile service to state-owned Ethio Telecom.
Safaricom Ethiopia is owned by an international consortium including Vodacom Group; Vodafone Group; Safaricom; Sumitomo Corporation – one of the largest international trading and business investment companies; and British International Investment (BII) - the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor.
This is the first joint investment project to be realised under the strategic alliance agreed by Vodafone and Sumitomo in November 2020.
Through its 34.9% stake in Safaricom and its 6.2% direct stake in Safaricom Ethiopia, Vodacom Group holds an effective 25.7% interest in the Safaricom Ethiopia business.
Shameel Joosub, CEO, Vodacom Group, said: “The Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium has worked tirelessly together with the Government of Ethiopia to reach this exciting moment in Ethiopia’s history as the country embarks upon a fully digitalised era. I would like to congratulate Safaricom Ethiopia and all management, staff and partners involved in reaching this milestone as we seek to connect every Ethiopian to the global digital economy. Ubiquitous network connectivity will positively transform the lives of Ethiopians throughout the country, notably by making various Tech for Good solutions and services available in health, education, manufacturing, agriculture and digital finance.”
Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, said: “For two decades, Safaricom 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."
Toshikazu Nambu, Representative Director, Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer, Sumitomo Corporation, said: “We are pleased to have reached the significant milestone of the official launch of Safaricom Ethiopia’s national mobile network. Through this project, Sumitomo Corporation will contribute to Ethiopia‘s national development by providing its expertise in the telecommunications business and digital transformation know-how cultivated in Japan and other Asian countries. With the expansion of mobile phone use and the economic and human resource development, we will transform lives for a digital future, in line with the Digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy.”
Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of BII, said: “The launch of Safaricom Ethiopia will deliver development impact at a country-wide level. It will transform the economic prospects for millions of Ethiopians and go a long way to alleviating data-poverty in the country.”