Safaricom has now hit over 5 million subscribers in its Ethiopian subsidiary, less than a year after its entry into the country. The telco is seeking to grab a significant market share in the country with a goal of acquiring 10 million customers by the close of March next year.
Having launched operations in Ethiopia in October last year, Safaricom started on a strong footing acquiring 740,000 subscribers by the close of the first month while generating $679,336 in revenue during that period.
The telco’s chief corporate affairs officer, Stephen Kiptinness issued a confirmation on the numbers to Business Daily.
In November, the company had crossed the one million mark in customer base. By mid-March this year, the Ethiopian branch had ammased 2.8 million customers. This means that it has now added 2.2 million users in five months to reach the current number, translating to an average of 14,600 sign-ups witnessed in the period between end of October and mid-November.
Safaricom, which is the major shareholder in the Ethiopian consortium which includes UK’s Vodafone, South Africa’s Vodacom, Sumitomo Corporation and British International Investment, is battling with the country’s State-owned Ethio Telecom (Ethiotel) to control the expansive market of 112 million people.
In its annual report for the full year ending June 2023, Ethiotel announced that its total subscribers had reached 72 million, which marked an eight percent increase from the number reported in the previous year.
Ethiotel’s customer numbers translate to the biggest single-country subscriber base of any nation on the continent.
The firm targets to sign up at least two million customers on M-Pesa in the Ethiopian market by the end of the current financial year which is set to close in March 2024.
The telco plans capital expenditure of between $276.4 million and $311 million on the Ethiopia unit in the current financial year compared with $383.7 million spent in the financial year ended March 2023.
The Ethiopian subsidiary generated $12.6 million in revenue in the six months to March but the operating costs came in at $137.9 million, contributing to a loss after tax of $84.3 million.
Safaricom is betting on offering quality telecommunications and mobile money services to scale up its customer base to a profitable level.