Safaricom Ethiopia grows number of subscribers to 2.8m


Safaricom Plc CEO Peter Ndegwa during a past investor briefing in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Safaricom Ethiopia had grown its customer numbers to 2.8 million users by mid this month, less than six months after its entry into the populous country where it is seeking to grab a significant market share.

The revelation was made by the telco’s public relations manager Christopher Karanja who spoke to Business Daily on Thursday on the sidelines of the Safaricom Foundation Strategy 2023-2026 launch.

“As of mid-March, our customer base in the Ethiopian market stood at 2.8 million,” said Mr Karanja.

Read: Safaricom connects 21 cities in Ethiopia

Safaricom launched operations in Ethiopia on October 6 last year and went ahead to acquire 740,000 subscribers by the close of that month, while generating Sh98.3 million in revenue from the market in the first month.

The telco would later in mid-November announce that it had crossed the one million mark in customer base.

This means the Kenyan firm added 1.8 million users in four months translating to an average of 15,000 sign-ups daily, which pace was a decline from the average of 18,000 daily sign-ups witnessed in the period between end of October and mid-November.

Safaricom, which is the major shareholder in the Ethiopian consortium which includes UK’s Vodafone, South Africa’s Vodacom, Sumitomo Corporation and British International Investment, is battling with the country’s State-owned Ethio Telecom to control the expansive market of 112 million people.

Ethio Telecom was as at 2021 boasting of a customer base of 58.7 million subscribers. Its customer numbers translate to the biggest single-country subscriber base of any operator on the continent.

Safaricom is betting on offering quality telecommunications services to scale up its customer base to a profitable level.

It is also aggressively marketing its brand in the market where consumers have only had one provider for decades.

Read: Safaricom crosses 1 million customers in Ethiopia

Safaricom was able to overtake Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya in the local market through sustained investment in infrastructure and innovations such as M-Pesa.

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