More Africa NewsEthiopia: Ethio Telecom’s mobile money service has passed the 21 million user mark

July 20, 2022by myles0

A second operator will soon enter the Ethiopian telecom market. Aided by the government, the incumbent operator is getting ahead of its future competitor, particularly in the mobile money segment expected to be a central element in the battle to dominate the market.

TeleBirr, the mobile money service of public telecommunications operator Ethio Telecom, has 21.14 million users, just over a year after it went live. TeleBirr, which currently holds the monopoly on mobile money, saw transactions worth a total of 25.67 billion birrs (491.6 million USD).

This rapid growth can be attributed to the increasing enthusiasm of African populations to use mobile money services, especially due to the digital transformation. It can also be attributed to the numerous partnerships forged by Ethio Telecom with public and private organizations since the launch of the platform.

These various partnerships have notably enabled it to include services for the purchase of domestic flight tickets from Ethiopian Airlines; payment of utility bills and payment of penalties for drivers as well as a digital lottery. The company has also integrated TeleBirr into the national banking system.

It was in May 2021 that Ethio Telecom launched its mobile payment platform TeleBirr with the technological expertise of the Chinese company Huawei. The authorities then closed the market to competition for 12 months to allow the incumbent operator to get ahead. Frehiwot Tamiru, Chief Executive Officer of Ethio Telecom, predicted that the platform would register 21 million users for the service in the first year of operation, rising to 33 million customers over a five-year period.

In August, Safaricom is expected to launch its commercial operations in Ethiopia. In addition to its mobile services, the company will be able to introduce its M-Pesa mobile money service in the country. Last April, Ethiopia began amending its National Payments Act to this effect. The introduction of M-Pesa is expected to bring more competition, renewed innovation in value-added services, improved quality of service as well as additional revenue for the state. 

Source: Agence Ecofin

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