Safaricom Ethiopia said it is participating in the consultation process with the national bank in amending the financial proclamation.The company has said it is ready to launch its operation in August, after four months delay in its agreement with the government and plans to reach the expected plan until April 2023.
Recently, the new telecommunications entrant announced that it has started to purchase equipment to operate M-pesa in Ethiopia, and owing to the fact of the country’s financial law not allowing foreign companies to participate in the financial sector, the company is awaiting for the national bank to amend the law.
“A couple of months ago, the national bank started the consultation process to amend the proclamation. We are participating in the consultation process to suggest what exactly is needed to be changed to allow foreign investors, into the market,” said Matthew Harrison-Harvey, Chief External Affairs and Regulatory Officer on Thursday, July 7, 2022 on a press briefing, adding that he expects the proclamation to be amended soon.
The company has said there will be a phased launch of its network and services that will commence from August 2022, switching on the network in 25 cities across the country when ready by April 2023, starting with Dire Dawa as it is conducting rigorous tests to ensure the provision of quality services.
Based on the agreement with the government and its license operation, the new telecommunications entrant was supposed to start after nine months following its license award which was supposed to be in early April, , but that had faced setbacks.
“Currently, we are in a testing period to ensure that when we switch on, we will deliver a quality experience for Ethiopians. We are working to fulfill our commitment to building the longterm foundations for our contribution to Ethiopia’s digital transformation and inclusion objectives to transform lives for a digital future,” stated Matthew Harrison-Harvey, adding, “Dire Dawa is chosen because of the network quality.”
The company has so far invested 1 billion dollars including the license fee to the government of Ethiopia. Also Safaricom has signed infrastructure and interconnectivity agreement with Ethio telecom.
The agreement is said to last for 10 years on infrastructure sharing and interconnection. Severe disagreements had earlier arisen between the two companies regarding the price and currency of payment and under this agreement, the payment will be in both currencies, with varying ratios across the infrastructure type.
“Both agreements are really important because even though we are building our own network towers and transmissions at the same time in line with that it make sense to share infrastructure rather than to build two in the same area,” said Matthew, adding, “This will enable the company to have options and redundancy indicating that the agreement is now under implementation.”
The agreement in principle with Ethio telecom was announced in April barely a month after the telecom operator signed an infrastructure-sharing agreement with the state-owned Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) to deploy its aerial fibers.