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Ethio Telecom launches Telebirr, a mobile money platform that is developed by Huawei.

Upon approval of the National Bank of Ethiopia to venture into digital financial services, Ethio Telecom has been working with Huawei and others stakeholders to launch the first Telecom mobile money platform in Ethiopia.

Huawei, a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices, powers the first telecom mobile money platform in Ethiopia for Ethio Telecom.  The Mobile Money platform deployed currently has the capacity of processing up to 100 transactions per second (TPS) and can be easily scaled up to 1000 TPS in the future according to Huawei.

The mobile money service is accessible via SMS, USSD, and smartphone applications.  Telebirr works in five languages.

It took five months for Huawei to deliver the end-to-end solution for Ethio Telecom.

Huawei Mobile Money has been commercially deployed in 19 countries, serving over 152 million users which represent 22% of registered emerging markets Mobile Money accounts. In Kenya Huawei, Mobile Money served more than 29 million customers using M-Pesa service with transactions worth $66 Billion.

Ethio Telecom has more than 250,000 partners that sell its products and services. The main product that this partner re-sell is Airtime. It’s expected Ethio Telecom is going to tap into this network of partners to scale its mobile money platform.

Since last month April, Ethio Telecom has been engaging major airtime distributors and agents. Many of this distributors and agents are now starting to be registered as a partner for Tellbirr product. They are expected to be the main point for customers to cash in and cash out. Take a look at our coverage of the telecommunication sector in Ethiopia.

What can you do with Telebirr?

As with a typical Mobile Money service ( Mpesa in Kenya or Hello Cash, M-birr, Amole in Ethiopia ), you only need your mobile phone to send money, receive money and pay for transactions.

You can :

  • Deposit and Withdraw Cash
  • Send and receive money.
  • Buy air time and mobile packages.
  • Pay for tickets
  • Participate in Fundraising
  • Pay for goods/services in different shops/locations using QR code
  • Receive payments from customers.
  • Receive Remittance

How to Register? 

You can register for telebirr in the following two ways:


You can dial *127# and follow the instructions. You can also download the application from Google Play/ App Store and register. According to Ethio Telecom, you can register in the app by entering full KYC ( uploading your Identity card and recent photo )  or you can also visit a nearby telebirr agent or Ethio telecom point of sales.

However, Telebirr is also providing a “Quick registration”  by using the information that already exists in Ethio telecom system.  Most people who have a Mobile number from Ethio Telecom should be able to get a fast-tracked KYC. Ethio Telecom has been collecting ID’s ( Kebele ID and Passport ) digitally whenever you get a SIM Card. It looks like that data will be used for KYC registration if you are registering through an app.

At Shega, we have tried to register today and used the quick registration method. It retrieved personal details and ID details and the whole process of registration took a couple of minutes.

Full-fledged registration:

You also visit the nearest authorized telebirr retail agent or Ethio telecom shop with your Ethio telecom active mobile number and identity card.

You should be getting the below after you registered.

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Anteneh Tesfaye is an Ethiopian from Addis Abeba who is interestedin Innovation and startup ecosystems across emerging markets witha more special focus on Africa, China and India

1 Comment

  • Maereg Sahilu, May 12, 2021 @ 11:12 pm

    Great article. Two typos on the first paragraph of the self registration section: diale and uploadign. A follow-up article on ways you can deposit money would be nice.

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