Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

4G/5G

Safaricom's Ethiopian network to go live in August

Article Image
Safaricom is planning to launch the first phase of its Ethiopia network rollout next month.

Safaricom Ethiopia MD, Anwar Soussa, confirmed the news on Twitter saying the new telco operation will begin in the city of Dire Dawa in eastern Ethiopia and then continue to switch on the network in another 24 cities across the country by April 2023.

The rollout in Addis Ababa will come later as Safaricom builds its own sites since the larger capital city requires more sites.

Infrastructure investment

The company also issued a statement confirming the August launch date. It said that since being granted an operating license in Ethiopia in mid-2021 it had already invested US$1 billion (including the license fee) in its network and has imported equipment worth over $300 million.

It said it has invested in network and building infrastructure, including mobile radio towers, a national transmission network and wholesale agreements for international connectivity.

It has also set up a call center, built two data centers and recently signed an infrastructure sharing and interconnect agreement with Ethio Telecom "with implementation progressing well."

"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," added Matthew Harrison-Harvey, Safaricom Ethiopia chief external affairs and regulatory officer, in the statement.

Safaricom Ethiopia said it has already recruited 500 staff for the business, of which 320 are Ethiopians, and it is continuing recruitment throughout the country. It previously said it planned to recruit 1,000 employees for the new business by June 2022.

It has also launched a graduate program to bring young people into the business and has already onboarded 50 graduate trainees and was working with regional universities to recruit an additional 100 graduates this year.

Kenyan-based Safaricom's regional expansion into Ethiopia has been planned since May 2021, when a Safaricom-led consortium was awarded an operating license in Ethiopia, becoming the first international operator given the chance to operate in the Horn of Africa nation.

With a population of 112 million people, Ethiopia is Africa's second-most populous country and provides a huge opportunity for expanding telecoms services.

Liberalizing telecoms

The Ethiopian government has also been planning to sell a 40% stake in Ethio Telecom as part of a broader economic reform program, which aims to privatize a number of public enterprises. However, the process was halted in March 2022 due to economic challenges both locally and internationally.


Want to know more about 4G and 5G in Africa? Check out our dedicated 4G/5G content channel here on Connecting Africa.


A second independent license was also up for grabs. But in December 2021 the regulator suspended the tender process, saying it would relaunch again in the near future.

In May, Ethio Telecom announced it had launched 5G in the capital, with plans to expand the footprint to regional cities over the next year.

Related posts:

*Top image is of Safaricom Ethiopia MD Anwar Soussa. (Source: Safaricom)

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Google's Equiano subsea cable lands on SA shores

Google’s Equiano subsea cable, which seeks to connect Europe to Africa via the ocean, has made its final stop landing in Melkbosstrand, Western Cape, South Africa.

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on legal tech with Life.file's Sinal Govender

Life.file co-founder, Sinal Govender, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and how we can encourage more young girls to enter the legal tech field.

More Innovation hub

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on inclusivity with Digital Council Africa's Juanita Clark

Digital Council Africa founder and CEO, Juanita Clark, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and what needs to be done to make the tech industry intentionally inclusive.

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on legal tech with Life.file's Sinal Govender

Life.file co-founder, Sinal Govender, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and how we can encourage more young girls to enter the legal tech field.

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Partner perspectives

5G is lighting up the future of North Africa
By Chris Meng, VP of Huawei Northern Africa Carrier Business Department

The moving target that is telecoms fraud
By Clémentine Fournier, Regional VP Sales, Africa, BICS

How mobile operators in Africa can address signalling threats and secure the network
By Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud and Security at BICS

All Partner Perspectives

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: June 2022

By Omdia Analysts

5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

Story

Omdia View: May 2022

By Omdia Analysts

SpaceX-owned Starlink's plans to launch a satellite broadband service in Africa was a major highlight in May 2022, says Omdia's analysts.

More Guest Perspectives

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival
November 7-11, 2022
CTICC, Cape Town
More Upcoming events

Archived webinars

Africa Green ICT: Lighting Up a Sustainable Continent

The ICT industry is the leading industry in the commitment to carbon neutrality, whose focus has shifted from setting ambitious targets to taking initiatives. The push for zero-carbon and for green energy development, it isn't just about CSR – it's also good for sustainable business.

The path to sustainable development requires green energy. Governments are looking at potential policy approaches to make green energy more widely available and affordable. Without sustainable energy, there will be no digital transformation and no chance of making Africa more economically competitive in the post-pandemic era.

Africa Green ICT Webinar 2022 will bring together ICT industry leaders and senior industrial analysts to provide insight, best practices and key learnings on how to achieve zero-carbon targets and practice green development in Africa.

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Flash poll

All polls

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up