Safaricom Ethiopia kicks off phased network rollout
Safaricom Ethiopia has started a phased network rollout phased in Dire Dawa City in the east of the country, four months after the telco missed April operational launch.
The pilot phase in Ethiopia’s second biggest city after the capital Addis Ababa, which hosts up to half a million people, is part of the telco’s planned city-by-city roll-out ahead of the October national launch that will make Safaricom Ethiopia the country’s second mobile network and first private operator.
“We are excited to begin our customer pilot for Safaricom Ethiopia Dire Dawa. This is an important milestone as we begin opening the network to customers in order to test the end-to-end readiness of technical and commercial operations ahead of the full network launch. We thank the Government of Ethiopia, the Dire Dawa City Administration, the Ethiopian Communications Authority, community leaders, network, IT and distribution partners and all stakeholders for all their support towards realizing this and future milestones.
“We will continue to share updates, as we extend the network and customer pilot across other regions, towards our national launch in October 2022,” said Anwar Soussa, CEO, Safaricom Ethiopia.
The company also confirmed that city residents are assured of access to the 07 prefix SIM cards as well as to 2G, 3G, and 4G networks.
Similarly, the Safaricom Ethiopia SIM cards will be available in branded shops or souks and come with a welcome offer of data, voice, and SMS for customers to test and experience the network for one month.
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Customers will also be able to purchase airtime vouchers to recharge their airtime balance to continue using services on the network.
Three shops, in the Keira, Meskelegna and Cornell areas, will be open to the public for customer registration, purchase of devices, and dedicated customer support.
On the test network in Dire Dawa, customers will be able to use data services, make calls and send SMS to Safaricom Ethiopia and (state-owned incumbent) Ethio Telecom customers, and make international calls worldwide. However, it doesn’t look like a local version of the M-Pesa mobile money service is part of this pilot.