March 21, 2022

Safaricom Ethiopia signs aerial fiber deal with Ethiopian Electric Utility


According to the agreement, Safaricom will use concrete poles installed in major cities of the country

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By Addis Zeybe

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Safaricom Ethiopia signs aerial fiber deal with Ethiopian Electric Utility
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Credit: Safaricom Ethiopia

Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC signed a three-year lease agreement, to conduct aerial fiber installation through the existing pole infrastructures with Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU).

“As Safaricom continues to build a new network in Ethiopia, investments in infrastructure and strategic partnerships are being prioritized to ensure high-speed internet access is made available to all homes and businesses across the country to enable a digital  Ethiopia,” the company said in a statement.

According to the agreement, Safaricom, the new telecom operator that will compete with Ethio Telecom from April, will use concrete poles installed in major cities of the country and pay 988 Br. and 70 cents for a single-pole annually.

“We are planning a phased network approach and we are proud to be partnering with the EEU to achieve this. Through this win-win partnership, we are empowered with the right tools to continue building the network backed by solid infrastructure and exemplary support from the public sector,” said Anwar Soussa, CEO Safaricom Ethiopia.

Safaricom plans to avoid investment redundancies by utilizing existing electricity poles and increasing the pace of the project. Additionally, aerial cabling is expected to be easier to repair and deploy over challenging terrain.

“One of the challenges in deploying network infrastructure is the time it takes to acquire and develop sites in order to get a new site installed. We are currently at a critical phase of building the network and this partnership greatly facilitates our progress towards launch in both rural and urban environments,” Anwar added.

As part of the agreement, Safaricom will provide access to a number of broadband channels from its infrastructure for the exclusive SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) communication installation purposes by the EEU.

“Safaricom Ethiopia’s entry into the market offers an opportunity for more value-added services to be provided by the public sector with the government’s support. The vision of a digital Ethiopia is a shared dream for us all and this agreement is a sign of our commitment towards fulfilling the government’s digital transformation agenda,” said Shiferaw Telila, CEO of EEU.

“By offering access to our extensive pole infrastructure across the country, we are optimistic of the benefit in store in terms of connectivity to ensure quality services and fair competition across the telecommunications industry.” 

The additional revenue generated by the lease of concrete poles installed by the Ethiopian Electric Service Utility will enable it to repair and rebuild outdated electrical infrastructure, EEU said on its part.

The agreement follows a recently signed five-year lease agreement between Safaricom Ethiopia and Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) to share dark fiber-optic. 

Safaricom said it will also lease the OPGW (Optical Ground Wire) installed on EEP high voltage transmission to be used as part of Safaricom’s network to provide national telecommunications services.