Safaricom’s Ethiopian Venture Surpasses 9 Million Customers

Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia Plc, a subsidiary of Kenya’s Safaricom, has achieved a milestone in Ethiopia’s telecommunications market as its customer base surpasses 9 million.


The impressive customer acquisition took place within a span of nine months, from October 2022 to December 2023. Safaricom’s Ethiopia unit successfully onboarded over 9 million customers during this period, demonstrating the strong demand for its voice, SMS, and mobile money services.

Safaricom’s majority ownership (51.67 %) in Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia further strengthens its position as a key player in Ethiopia’s telecom sector. The recent announcement by the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) to reduce mobile termination rates (MTR) by 25.8 % further augments Safaricom’s growth prospects. The MTR reduction fosters fair competition between Safaricom and Ethio Telecom, the incumbent operator, and creates a level playing field for both companies to vie for customers.


The lowered MTR, which will take effect from May 1, sets the rate at ETB 0.23 per minute, making it more cost-effective for Safaricom to connect its customers’ calls with those on Ethio Telecom’s network. This reduction brings Ethiopia’s MTR closer to that of Kenya, where rates were recently lowered to ETB 0.17 per minute. While the MTR cuts in Kenya have impacted Safaricom’s financial performance due to its dominant market share, the situation in Ethiopia presents an opportunity for Safaricom to expand its market presence and capture a significant share of the growing customer base.


Safaricom Ethiopia’s network infrastructure includes 2,242 base stations, with 1,252 built by the company itself, providing coverage across 33 cities.


Looking ahead, Safaricom aims to surpass its revenue milestone of ETB 2.05 billion achieved during the nine-month period, of which voice services contributed ETB 28.98 million.

Eden Teshome

Editor-in-Chief of Ethiopian Business Review (EBR). She can be reached at

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