Safaricom announced on Thursday that it will begin commercial services in Ethiopia in August.
The company, part of the Vodafone group, is under increasing pressure over its earlier April launch target 2022.
At a press conference on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Safaricom said, “It is on track for a phased launch of its network and services in the country and is conducting rigorous testing to ensuring the delivery of quality services.”
The phased commercial rollout will begin in August 2022 and will turn on the network in 25 cities across the country by April 2023.
“Safaricom Ethiopia is pleased We look forward to the transition in our network and services, beginning with Dire Dawa in August 2022 and 24 additional cities in phases across the country over the coming months,” said Matthew Harrison-Harvey, Chief External Affairs and Regulatory Of ficer, to journalists.
“We are currently in a testing phase to ensure that when you turn it on, we will provide Ethiopians with a quality experience. We are working to fulfill our commitment to lay the long-term foundations for our contribution to Ethiopia’s digital transformation and inclusion goals to transform lives for a digital future.”
Safaricom further said that the implementation of the Infrastructure sharing agreement with Ethio-Telecom is “progressing well”.
“We are pleased with the telecoms infrastructure sharing agreement,” said Harrison-Harvey.
In April Safaricom has reached an agreement with Ethio-Telecom to share cell sites, interconnectors and mast facilities in Ethiopia.
Since being licensed in July 2021, the company has invested in its network and building infrastructure, including its own cell towers, national transmission grid, and wholesale deals for international connectivity.
“We raised $1 billion (including the Te lecommunication license fee) invested; imported equipment worth over $300 million; developing our core network, IT, products and services; set up a call center; [and] 2 data centers built,” said Safaricom.
In addition to the infrastructure, the company has also appointed a management team and commercial launch experts to provide professional and technical development to the employees. It has hired 500 employees, 320 of whom are Ethiopians.
Safaricom, the first private telecoms company in Ethiopia, says it is a purpose-driven technology and communications company committed to the digital transformation and inclusion of Addis Ababa’s agenda.
The Global Partnership for Ethiopia – consisting of Safaricom Plc, Vodacom Group, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation and British International Investment (formerly known as CDC Group) – was granted a license to operate telecommunications services in Ethiopia Ethiopia in July 2021. The group then registered Safaricom Telecommunications EthiopiaPLC.