Safaricom Ethiopia still on track for launch in ’22

Safaricom Ethiopia still on track for launch in ’22

Despite the ongoing uncertainty caused by the conflict in that country, the second operator in Ethiopia is still making plans for next year’s launch, most recently with news of the mobile number prefix it plans to employ.

The Safaricom-led consortium, which won an operating licence in Ethiopia in July this year, plans to use the same 07 mobile number prefix it deploys in Kenya when it launches commercial operations next March.

According to the Business Daily website this is the second mobile network prefix allocated in Ethiopia. State-owned operator Ethio Telecom uses the 09 prefix.

A briefing with journalists also revealed that that the consortium is now recruiting staff ahead of the operational launch of the business, which is to be called Safaricom Ethiopia. This further underlines Safaricom’s intentions after it recently revealed its plans to lease and occupy an office building by the start of next year in Addis Ababa as a base for its Ethiopian operations.

The company’s managing director, Anwar Soussa, was quoted as saying that the new company’s first data centre had arrived in Addis, and that it was working on its network rollout and continuing to recruit. The long-term estimate was of the creation of 1.5 million jobs, both directly and indirectly, over the next 10 years. However, if the ongoing strife in the country isn’t peacefully resolved, this may be an optimistic assessment.

There are also the small matters of taking on the dominant Ethio Telecom operation and whether or not a third operator will join the other two as was originally planned.

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