Kenya’s Safaricom has launched its mobile network in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, becoming the first private operator in one of Africa’s largest telecoms markets.
Listed on the Nairobi stock exchange, the telecommunications operator is one of the biggest companies in East Africa, its success fueled by M-Pesa, which was launched in 2007. Safaricom’s network will offer 4G data, voice and SMS services between Safaricom Ethiopia and Ethio Telecomm customers.
This launch of the network in Addis-Ababa was part of Safaricom’s planned city-to-city launch. The company’s network is already available in 10 cities. Some of the cities include Dire Dawa, Harar, Haramaya, etc, and this network company was made available through a series of customer network pilots launched on August 29.
Ahmed Shide, Ethiopia’s finance minister, , said his government had granted the company a license to operate the mobile money service. Meanwhile Safaricom Ethiopia CEO, Anwar Soussa, said the mobile money service would take two to three months to roll out.
The telecommunications company launched the world’s first-ever mobile phone-based money transfer service 15 years ago, and the business, known as M-Pesa, has evolved to account for roughly half of the company’s annual revenue. Safaricom Ethiopia said it plans a national network rollout to reach 14 extra cities by April 2023.