Ethio Telecom is going to introduce a new machine that will enable customers to obtain four basic telecom services on their own, Addis Zeybe learned.
According to the information obtained from Ethio Telecom Communication Head, Mesay Woubshet, this self-service kiosk machine will deliver customers new SIM card issuing, lost SIM card replacement, telephone bill payment, and airtime top-up services.
The machine's operation, currently undergoing testing works is underway in the first stage, during which time it is planned to install the machine on ten sites in Addis Ababa that are considered to be convenient for customers to access the service Three machines, out of the ten, are already installed at the selected locations and testing is in progress.
Among the three test sites, the first is located at Ethio Telecom's sales center near Lycee G. Mariam on Churchill Avenue, while the other two are located in two shopping malls around Bole Medhanialem.
The self-service kiosk machine is designed to receive cash for the services it delivers including an Identification card reader it has for the sim card service.
The device, which is believed to be efficient in rendering fast automated services, is manufactured by a foreign technology company. The capital invested in it and the manufacturing company will be disclosed at an official launch to be organized by Ethio Telecom.
Dr. Fasika Betemariam, Scientific Director of the Hawassa University Institute of Technology, whom Addis Zeybe talked to regarding the technological merit of the machine said, “A self-service machine is an interactive device that allows customers to get services 24/7. The machines, installed in public areas like malls, offer round-the-clock access to services avoiding the need to wait in line. Moreover, it gives customers control over the services they want to get at their own convenience”
"Self-service machines solve a variety of challenges that benefit customers and providers, and other Institutions which interact with customers in person are advised to follow Ethio Telecom's initiative in bringing such advanced machines to automate their services."
Dr. Fasika also stressed that realizing Ethiopia's status as a developing country with a society having limited awareness in technology, the company should come up with trial and error backup plans in order to adjust losses that might occur when the machines would face functional problems, evident in the recurrent malfunction bank ATMs’ are facing.
On the other hand, responding to the possible concern whether Ethio Telecom has plans to reduce the number of its professional human resource when it introduces the machine, Mesay said, "When we set out to offer this machine to our customers, the main objective is to satisfy their needs and increase the number of our customers. Therefore, given the fact that it is a technology that will increase the number of customers and be implemented in a number of areas, we will not be thinking about reduction of employees, rather attaining more of them.”