KENYAN telecoms operator Safaricom took another step towards commencing its commercial operations in Ethiopia by launching its first data centre in the capital, Addis Ababa.
The $100 million facility was assembled in China by Huawei and Nokia.
It was deployed less than a year after a Safaricom-led consortium, which includes Vodafone and Japan’s Sumitomo, was granted a mobile operating license by the Ethiopian government.
Safaricom chief external affairs and regulatory officer Matthew Harvey hailed the data center’s launch as a significant milestone in the consortium’s efforts to begin operations in Ethiopia in April.
‘The Ethiopian government has affirmed that it intends to allow the consortium to provide digital financial services after establishing an environment that is conducive for competition instead of monopolization by global corporations like Safaricom.’
Safaricom aims to invest more than $8.5bn in Ethiopia over the next 10 years.
The launch of the data centre, however, is not the only major step the telecoms giant has made in recent times.
‘On February 5, the first successful voice call was made using Safaricom’s network with the code “07”. Text messaging, internet access, and other network services followed successfully,’ Safaricom Ethiopia’s chief technology officer, Pedro Rabacal said.
Safaricom plans to launch two more data centres, another in Addis Ababa and one in Adama and put up more than 7,000 network towers to reach half of Ethiopia’s population of more than 100 million people.
Safaricom also hopes to create 1.5 million job opportunities through multiple supply chains.