Safaricom Ethiopia to use locally manufactured telecom towers

Safaricom Ethiopia has announced that it will be using locally manufactured telecom towers as it seeks to localize its infrastructure. 

The telco has partnered with Woda Metals, an Ethiopian-based company that specializes in the production of Power transmission towers, Telecommunication towers, Cables, Galvanization and Steel Structures for the provision of the towers. 

Safaricom Ethiopia last week received 13 of the locally manufactured telecom towers out of the 68 it has ordered from Woda, the first Ethiopian local manufacturer of such towers.

“This is a historic moment for Safaricom in Ethiopia as we have started the localization of the manufacturing of our infrastructure,” Safaricom Ethiopia CEO, Wim Vanhelleputte said.

Safaricom Ethiopia hopes the new towers will help it expand its network and customer base which now stands at 4.4 million.

 “The quality of their towers is good; their galvanization plant is the biggest in East Africa and their cost-effectiveness will enable us to expand our network more efficiently and effectively,” Wim stated.

The company began rolling out its network in August 2022 in the city of Dire Dawa in the eastern part of the country. In October 2022, it officially launched its national network in the capital, Addis Ababa, and ten other cities. 

As of 31 Dec 2023, Safaricom Ethiopia had launched 2,242 base stations (1,252 own-built and 990 collocated) covering 33 cities including large and medium towns. This represents 33% of population coverage.  Its focus now, it said during the release of its Full Year 2023/2024 results recently is to densify connectivity to continue enhancing the quality of connectivity as it create a contiguous network.

“We are proud to be the first local company to supply telecom towers to Safaricom Ethiopia. ‘’ Steven Cui, the CEO of Woda Metal said. 

Recently, Safaricom Ethiopia closed funding transactions from the World Bank’s investment arms. The funding is expected to support Safaricom’s ongoing construction and operation of its greenfield telecommunications network to drive digital connectivity across Ethiopia.

Safaricom Ethiopia is owned by an international consortium including Vodafone Group; Safaricom PLC; Vodacom Group; Sumitomo Corporation – one of the largest international trading and business investment companies; and British International Investment (BII) – the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor.

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