Safaricom Ethiopia’s Shop in Jemmo area of Addis Ababa.

M-Pesa Gains 1.2mln Users Since Ethiopian Debut

ADDIS ABABA – M-Pesa, Safaricom Ethiopia’s mobile financial services, has registered over 2.1 million subscribers in less than three months

Safaricom Ethiopia went live with M-Pesa on August 16 after securing the Payment Instrument Issuer License from the Central Bank.

It has since gained more than 1.2 million customers with a transaction value of 47.3bln Kenyan shillings (or nearly $388 million), according to Safaricom Plc CEO Peter Ndegwa.

The addition of mobile money has given Safaricom Ethiopia’s expansion momentum since it launched commercial services a year ago.

“We have made fair progress and gained good commercial momentum since then. This momentum is largely driven by mobile data and M-PESA though coming off a small base,” Safaricom Plc CEO Ndegwa noted speaking on the company’s business in Ethiopia.

The telecom firm increased sites and coverage to 30%, helping its customer acquisitions growth to continue and consequently usage and revenue, per a performance report for six months to Sept 2023.

‘Data Usage particularly encouraging’

Our 90-day active voice customers doubled in the six months to 4.1 million with 63% being 30-day active customers while the 90-day active data customers closed the period at 2.3 million, a 62% penetration of the active voice customers.

Safaricom also saw usage of data increases with an average of 3.1GB per chargeable customer per month. Though Voice usage which stands at an average of 63.8 minutes per customer per month still low, it has shown improvement from 55.4 minutes recorded at year-end.

“We are particularly encouraged with the usage levels in mobile data. Such levels were only realized in Kenya after close to 10 years of operations.

In September, Ethiopia’s data usage was higher than Kenya’s, having closed at 4.3 gigabytes per customer compared to 3.7 for Kenya. On the network, the company has rolled out just over 2,000 sites as of 30th Sept. “This is equivalent to a third of our network in Kenya,” the CEO said.

Safaricom Plc reported a 2.1% increase in net income to 34.2 billion shillings ($225 million). Income from M-Pesa, which accounts for about 42% of service revenue, rose 16% from a year earlier.