Ethiopia's first private telecom firm launches pilot operations

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ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia's first private telecom firm, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia Private Limited Company (PLC), announced Monday that it has started pilot operations.

Safaricom Ethiopia said in a press statement that it began a large-scale customer pilot of its network in Dire Dawa city of eastern Ethiopia Monday.

Safaricom Ethiopia also said Monday's launch is part of the company's phased city-by-city regional network rollout and rigorous service tests building toward a national launch.

"The customer pilot in Dire Dawa will be on 2G, 3G and 4G networks and customers will be able to purchase SIM cards and choose their preferred numbers on Safaricom Ethiopia's '07' prefix," the statement said. "The customer pilot in Dire Dawa is part of switching on our network and services in 25 cities by April 2023, working in partnership with government, businesses, local communities and other stakeholders as part of our long-term commitment to transforming lives for a digital future in line with the digital Ethiopia objectives."

Ethiopia awarded its first private telecom license in May 2021 to a Safaricom-led consortium for a license fee of 850 million U.S. dollars.

Separately, Ethiopia also plans to sell up to 40 percent of shares in the state-owned telecom monopoly, the Ethio-Telecom.

Ethiopia's telecom industry is considered a huge untapped market, as the east African country has the second largest population in Africa, only after Nigeria. Enditem

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