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Safaricom reaches 21 cities across Ethiopia as it races to 25-city target

Anwar Soussa - Vodacom 16.9.jpg

Safaricom Ethiopia has expanded to five additional cities, bringing its national footprint to 21 cities just three months after launching on 6 October.

Its initial target is 25 cities by April. The company, controlled by Safaricom Kenya, has just switched on services in the city of Hawassa, south of Addis Ababa, after expanding Assela, Jigjiga, Sodo and Dilla cities over the past few weeks. Addis itself was connected in October 2022.

Anwar Soussa (pictured), CEO of Safaricom Ethiopia, said: “More cities [are] set to join the growing Safaricom Ethiopia family. We are also delighted to have expanded our services into more regional states.”

New customers in these cities will be able to purchase SIM cards for 30 birr (US$0.55), said the company, choose their preferred numbers, buy airtime and access dedicated customer support at Safaricom Ethiopia branded shops.

Safaricom Kenya is the main shareholder in the Ethiopian start-up, with 55.7%. Others are Japan’s Sumitomo with 27.2%, the UK government’s British International Investment (BII) with 10.9% and Vodacom of South Africa 6.2%. Vodacom is itself a shareholder in Safaricom Kenya. Cities covered so far are Adama, Addis Ababa, Assela, Awoday, Bahir Dar, Bishoftu, Debre Birhan, Dessie, Dilla, Dire Dawa, Gondar, Haramaya, Harar, Hawassa, Jigjiga, Jimma, Kombolcha, Mojo, Sebeta, Shashemene and Sodo.

This brings the company closer to its objective of covering 25 cities and 25% of the Ethiopian population by April.

In November 2022, the company announced that it had crossed the one million subscriber mark only a month after the official launch of its services.

Safaricom Ethiopia has built 561 active 2G/3G/4G sites, as well as two data centres. The company operates at 41 shared sites, while 931 more are under construction.