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Safaricom Ethiopia opens operations in Tigray

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Kenyan-headquartered Safaricom's Ethiopian arm has launched commercial operations in the Tigray region.

The Tigray National Regional State is situated in northern Ethiopia and shares borders with Eritrea to the north and Sudan to the west.

In a statement, the telco said the expansion into Tigray will be executed in two phases. Safaricom Ethiopia said the first phase, which is already completed, involved the construction of 125 towers and the second phase will add another 166 towers to reach cities in Northern and Western Tigray.

"Our phased approach ensures we build an independent, state-of-the-art 4G network that is 5G ready," the telco's statement added.

The telco highlighted that setting up a great network takes time; however, it is committed to enhancing and optimizing its network continually.

"Our network will seamlessly connect to the Global Mobile Network and is interconnected with the other network in Ethiopia, enabling effortless communication with users of the other service provider," it added.

Safaricom Ethiopia said it had created a regional office in Tigray that has so far created direct employment opportunities for a dozen people, with more recruitment already underway.

Safaricom Ethiopia said its phased approach in Tigray will ensure it builds an independent, state-of-the-art 4G network that is 5G ready. 
  (Source: Safaricom Ethiopia)
Safaricom Ethiopia said its phased approach in Tigray will ensure it builds an independent, state-of-the-art 4G network that is 5G ready.
(Source: Safaricom Ethiopia)

"Thousands of indirect jobs are being generated through partnerships with local companies for distributing airtime, SIM cards, devices, and producing branding materials," the telco explained.

"We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Interim Regional Government of Tigray for the active support we received in making this project a reality," the company concluded.

Safaricom's expansion into Ethiopia

Safaricom has made inroads in Ethiopia since a consortium it led was awarded a telecom license in May 2021, ending one of the world's last standing telecom monopolies.

Safaricom Ethiopia began rolling out its network in August 2022 in the city of Dire Dawa in the eastern part of the country.

In October 2022, it officially launched its national network in the capital, Addis Ababa, and ten other cities.


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In its first nine months in operation, Safaricom Ethiopia gained 4.5 million gross customers and had doubled that by the end of 2023. By February this year, the telco had 9 million mobile subscribers.

Related posts:

*Top image is of Safaricom Group CEO Peter Ndegwa. (Source: Safaricom.)

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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