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Ahead of its highly anticipated commercial launch in Ethiopia come Q2 2022, Safaricom has announced the completion of its data centre in Addis Ababa.

The facility cost Safaricom the sum of $100 million to construct, and was put together in China by Huawei and Nokia. This is happening less than a year after a consortium led by Safaricom won a bid to operate a mobile network service in the Horn of Africa country.

Local media reported that during a press conference earlier in the week, spokespersons for Safaricom confirmed that the telecom giant is hoping to commence full-scale commercial operation in Ethiopia this coming April.

Safaricom has plans to construct two more data centres in the next five years and will also erect about 7000 network towers as part of its infrastructure drive in the country. In the meantime, however, the company said it has commenced negotiations with Ethio Telecom over the possibility of sharing some of the state-owned operator’s already available infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the completion of the data centre is not the only major milestone Safaricom has recorded so far ahead of its launch. Pedro Rabacal who serves as Safaricom Ethiopia’s Chief Operating Officer, told Business Daily that “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”.

Business Insider Africa understands that Safaricom intends to invest as much as $8.5 billion in Ethiopia in the next 10 years. This will enable the telecom company to replicate all of its already successful product lines (including M-Pesa) in the Horn of Africa country.

“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 monopolisation by global corporations like Safaricom,” said Mathew Harvey, Safaricom’s Chief Externa Affairs and Regulatory Officer.

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