Safaricom expands network coverage to 21 cities in Ethiopia

The Safaricom consortium in Ethiopia has announced that it will be expanding to five more cities: Hawassa, Assela, Jigjiga, Sodo, and Dilla. Customers in these cities will be able to purchase SIM cards for 30 birrs, choose their preferred telephone numbers, and access support at Safaricom Ethiopia branded shops. This expansion brings the total number of cities in which the consortium operates to 21, and the consortium is now just a few cities away from reaching its target of establishing a presence in all 24 cities by next April.

With expansion to five more cities, bringing the total number of cities it operates in to 21. This means that the consortium is now only a few cities away from reaching its target of establishing a presence in all 24 cities by next April.

The consortium invested over $850 million (Sh102.6 billion) to obtain the Ethiopian license and also invested an additional $300 million (Sh36.2 billion) in capital expenditure this year. When the company launched its operations in Ethiopia in October, it had planned to activate its network in at least 24 cities by April of next year. This goal is now close to being achieved, with only three cities remaining.

The rapid expansion demonstrates the company’s strong desire to establish a dominant presence in the Ethiopian market, similar to its success in Kenya. This ambition is also aimed at surpassing its closest competitor, Ethio Telecom, which has a customer base of 58.7 million subscribers, the largest single-country subscriber base of any operator in Africa.’

Last month, Safaricom Ethiopia reached one million subscribers just one month after launching operations, indicating a positive reception in the large Ethiopian market, which has a population second only to Nigeria in Africa. The market is estimated to have around 110 million mobile users.

Since entering the Ethiopian market, Safaricom has established 561 active 2G/3G/4G sites and two data centers. It is currently operating on 41 shared sites, with 931 others under construction. The company has 66 distributor shops, 2,000 SIM card-selling outlets, and 650 call center staff, consisting of 200 expatriates and 450 local workers, including 50 recent graduates.


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