Safaricom crosses 1 million customers in Ethiopia


Safaricom chairman John Ngumi (left) with chief executive Peter Ndegwa during the telco's half-year results at the Michael Joseph Centre on November 11, 2022. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Safaricom has crossed the one million mark in subscriber numbers in Ethiopia just a month after the launch of operations in the populous nation indicating the telco's warm reception.

The revelation was made via a live broadcast screen count that was shared across social media platforms on Wednesday.

Just last week while announcing its half-year financial results, the company said it had acquired 740,000 subscribers by the end of October, generating Sh98.3 million in revenue from the market in the first month of operations.

This means that the telco has gained a subscriber base of 260,000 users in two weeks translating to an average of 18,000 sign-ups daily.

The Kenyan firm is battling with Ethiopia’s State monopoly Ethio Telecom to control the country’s expansive market of 110 million mobile users.

Safaricom is one among several Kenyan firms that have been salivating for the Ethiopian market given its huge population, which comes second in Africa after Nigeria’s.

Ethio Telecom boasts a customer base of 58.7 million, making it the biggest single-country subscriber base of any operator on the continent.

Safaricom last year led a consortium that included Vodafone, Vodacom, the United Kingdom’s CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Corp which secured the first private mobile telephony license with an Sh97.9 billion bid.

The consortium spent over ­$850 million (Sh102.6 billion) on acquiring the Ethiopian license and has further pumped $300 million (Sh36.2 billion) as capital expenditure this year.

The firm has hired at least 650 staff for Ethiopian operations, comprising 200 expatriates and 450 local workers including 50 fresh graduates.

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Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.