Safaricom expands network pilot

Safaricom expands network pilot

Safaricom expanded its network pilot to the Oromia region, as the operator continues plans to deploy its commercial network in stages with the aim of connecting 25 locations by April next year.

In a statement, Safaricom Ethiopia detailed its pilot will roll out to the Oromia region starting with Haromaya City. The operator launched its pilot first in Dire Dawa City in eastern Ethiopia, in August.

Customers will be able to buy SIM cards and connect to the Safaricom network and be given a data, voice and SMS package for one month. Connections to Ethio Telecom subscribers are also possible, as well as international calls.

New users will be able to also t register on the network, and purchase airtime vouchers and devices, while also accessing customer support at a new brick-and-mortar store in central bus station Menaheria and in marketplaces.

Safaricom Ethiopia CEO Anwar Soussa said: “We are excited to continue our phased city-by-city customer trials in Haramaya city, after the regional network rollout in Dire Dawa city and Harari region in the last week.

"We thank the regional government of Oromia, the mayor of Haramaya city, the Ethiopian Communication Authority; network, IT and distribution partners, community leaders, and all stakeholders for all their support towards realizing this and future milestones.”

The Ethiopian market was formerly closed off to international companies and is seen as one of the very few untapped markets, with its high population of 115 million. 

Safaricom group chairman Michael Joseph stepped down from his role to dedicate more time to the Ethiopia unit.

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