Safaricom Ethiopia kicks off $1.5 billion investment with first batch of homegrown telecom towers

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May 28, 2024
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2 min read
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  • Safaricom Ethiopia, a telco operator, has announced receiving the first batch of 13 locally manufactured telecom towers from Woda plc., the first local company to manufacture network towers in the country, to improve and expand their network infrastructure. 
  • Per the telco operator, Woda will supply 68 high-quality towers for 50 million birr (nearly $870,000).
  • This development comes a month after Safaricom Ethiopia announced a $1.5 billion plan to build 5,000 new towers over three years to expand network infrastructure and provide high-quality, dependable telecommunications services across the country. 

The telco currently owns more than 2,800 towers, two-thirds of which are self-built and the remainder leased.

Ethiopia, with a population of slightly more than 129 million, has 24.83 million Internet users, representing 19.4% of the total population as of January 1, 2024.

The telco stated that the development is an essential step towards providing reliable and accessible telecommunications services to all Ethiopians, emphasising the company's commitment to supporting local industries and contributing to Ethiopia's economic development.

"The quality of their towers is good; their galvanization plant is the biggest in Africa and their cost-effectiveness will enable us to expand our network more efficiently and effectively. This collaboration not only supports our operational goals but also contributes to making manufacturing in Ethiopia the standard for Africa," Wim Vanhelleputte, CEO of Safaricom Ethiopia revealed.

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Woda's CEO, Steven Cui, confirmed they are the first local company to supply telecom towers to Safaricom Ethiopia. He also stated that the company is committed to maintaining the highest levels of quality and reliability in its products.

When the telco announced its plan to invest in new towers in April, 2024, it stated that the network expansion would improve coverage and capacity and provide access to advanced mobile and digital finance services and connectivity for individuals and businesses.

In August 2023, Techpoint Africa reported that the telco would receive $257.4 million (KSh36.8 billion) in funding from the World Bank Group to support its greenfield telecommunications projects to increase Ethiopia’s mobile connectivity. 


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