Palms opened testing the new service in town; many lined up inside a shop on the ground floor of Medihanalem Mall, across from Edna Mall. Standing in the queue was Mulugeta Ababu, 35, who works as a tour guide, travelling across the country for the past seven years. Last week, he was at one of Safaricom Ethiopia’s outlets to subscribe to a wifi service. Mulugeta wanted to switch his subscription from Ethio telecom, hoping the new service would offer him better connectivity.

“During my visit to Kenya, I used their service, which worked faster,” he told Fortune. “I expect them to provide the same here.”

Clad with corporate outfits bearing Safaricom’s green colour, close to 10 service staff were busy attending to excited clients, taking fingerprints, snapping photos and copying IDs. Mulugeta provided all he was asked before he was issued a SIM card for 30 Br. He also bought a new feature mobile phone from the same shop. The excitement on the faces of the new subscribers was apparent. Mesfin Ahmedin, 37, an accountant, was persuaded by his friend’s excitement to have a 4G service from Safaricom Ethiopia.

Safaricom Ethiopia has opened no fewer than 35 outlets in Addis Abeba since its spectacular launch two weeks ago. It became Ethiopia’s first privately-owned telecom firm. A consortium of companies, including the South African Vodacom, the British Vodafone and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, under Safaricom Kenya, won an operating license outbidding its contenders by offering 850 million dollars. Over a year in preparation, Safaricom Ethiopia switched its network in Addis Abeba two weeks ago, after piloting its services in 10 cities, mainly Dire Dawa. The company plans to cover no less than 14 cities by mid-next year.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 15,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1172]

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