Safaricom rolls out telecom infrastructure

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Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC, a consortium of telecom giants, has announced on Tuesday that it is building its own telecom infrastructure.

It has been negotiating with Ethio Telecom to share telecom infrastructure since September last year.

Matthew Harrison-Harvey, Chief External Affairs and Regulatory Officer of Safaricom affirmed during the press conference on Tuesday that they ordered for the required equipment’s and will wait until the government allows them. The infrastructural equipment’s will be used for adopting M-Pesa, Safaricom’s mobile money service.

The company is also expecting the government’s approval for the mobile money services after it completed purchasing of necessary equipment’s for the service.

Speaking on resource sharing plans, Harrison-Harvey confirmed that negotiations are being held with Ethio Telecom to share infrastructure, especially in terms of expanding Safaricom Ethiopia’s capabilities outside of Addis Abeba.

Safaricom has planned to install from 7,000 to 7,500 mobile towers across the country.

Telecommunications resource sharing provides many benefits to all parties involved, according to Pedro Rabacal, Chief Technology Officer of Safaricom. He said it is one of the most common practices in the industry.

The company will provide 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services. The newly installed telecom equipment’s will also are capable of providing 5G telecom services.

Safaricom Ethiopia unveiled its first cloud data center in Ethiopia at a visit organized for journalists and held on Tuesday in less than a year after the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) issued the company the first-ever telecom operator license since Ethio Telecom.

Safaricom’s state-of-the-art cloud data center—which has been visited on Tuesday by journalists is part of a $300 million investment by the global telecom giant.

In the next five years, Safaricom intends to establish two more data centers  one in Addis Abeba, which has been visited by media’s and another in Adama, and erect more than seven thousand network towers reaching half the population ( To greater than 50 million people).

Gonder, Jigjiga, and Harer are also selected to expand its services. Meanwhile, Safaricom is constructing data center in Dire Dawa city.

The establishment of the data center in Addis Abeba is a significant milestone for the Safaricom led consortium in its quest to begin commercial operations in April of this year.

The data center is not the only significant milestone that the company achieved this month. On February 5th (2022), the first successful voice call was made using Safaricom’s network with the code ‘07’. Text messaging, internet access, and other network services followed successfully, says Mr. Rabacal.

Secured a license to join the Ethiopia market in May last year, Safaricom also set a plan to invest $8.5 billion in ten years.

Regarding third-party businesses that the company intends to work with (similar to companies such as Apple or Netflix working with providers like T-Mobile or Vodafone), Harrison-Harvey expressed Safaricom’s intention to focus on Ethiopian businesses in order to drive innovation.

Similarly, he noted that Safaricom has hired more than two hundred Ethiopians so far and projected that by the end of the year Safaricom will employ at least one thousand people.

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