ADDIS ABABA – Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia has extended its large-scale customer pilot to Bahir Dar and Adama cities.
The launch in the two cities is part of a phased customer network pilot for Safaricom’s regional network roll-out and rigorous service tests ahead of a national launch in October.
“Our phased city-by-city customer trials are now growing to central and Northern Ethiopia, with more cities to follow, after the network rollout in Eastern Ethiopia over the past couple of weeks,” said Anwar Soussa, Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom Ethiopia.
On Monday, the telco said Customers in Bahir Dar and Adama will now be able to purchase SIM cards which come with the welcome offer of Data, Voice and SMS for customers to test and experience the network for one month.
They will be able to use data services, make calls and send SMS to Safaricom Ethiopia and Ethio Telecom customers and make international calls worldwide, it added.
“The pilots in Bahir Dar and Adama allow us to continue rigorous service tests in Amhara and Oromia regions, looking forward to our national launch in October 2022, and serving all of Ethiopia,” CEO Soussa added.
To date, the telco has added five cities including Harar and Haramaya to its customer network after the first network rollout in Dire Dawa City on August 29.
The customer pilots in five cities are part of switching on Safaricom Ethiopia’s network and services in 25 cities by April 2023, as part of the telco’s long-term commitment to transforming lives for a digital future in line with the Digital Ethiopia objectives.
Kenya’s biggest telco is the major shareholder in the Safaricom Ethiopia plc with a stake of 55.7%.
Safaricom Kenya and its partners – Vodacom Group, Sumitomo Corporation and British International Investment – together paid $850 million for the license fee.
They will, however, see their combined stake drop by up to 15.5% after the International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced a plan to purchase $160 million worth of shares in the subsidiary, the Business Daily Africa (BDA) reported late last week.
IFC’s new shareholding is expected at 15.46%, which would make the financier the third largest owner in STE behind Japan’s Sumitomo.
“IFC’s investment will support STE’s countrywide mobile network roll-out and help position the company to comply with the terms of its license, which outlines the requirement for a specified population and geographic coverage targets and reasonable tariffs, universal accessibility and teledensity target, amongst others,” said the IFC in its disclosures, according to the BDA.
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