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Safaricom Ethiopia has received its first batch of locally manufactured network towers from Woda Metal Manufacturing.

The telecom operator contracted Woda to supply 68 high-quality towers in 2023 for a total cost of 50 million birr

During a handover ceremony held yesterday, Wim Vanhelleputte, CEO of Safaricom, highlighted the role local manufacturers will play in the company’s infrastructure expansion plans.

Safaricom currently operates 2800 towers across the country, out of which two-thirds are self-built while the rest are leased from Ethio Telecom.

Last month, the operator announced a major investment of $1.5 billion to build 5,000 new towers over the next three years, bringing the total number of towers to 7,000.

“We used to import telecom goods from China and other countries,” said Wim. He informed Shega that Safaricom has saved over 10 million USD by outsourcing various projects to local companies, including logistics and transportation costs. “Outsourcing this project has saved us time and money,” he added.

“The quality of their towers is good; their galvanization plant is the biggest in East Africa, and their cost-effectiveness will enable us to expand our network more efficiently and effectively,” Wim told the media.

Woda Plc is a joint venture between Chinese and Japanese investors. Established in Ethiopia in 2016, the company manufactures steel towers, aluminum conductor cables, and operates a galvanization facility.

“We are proud to be the first local company to supply telecom towers to Safaricom Ethiopia,” said Steven Cni, CEO of Woda. “Thirteen of the towers have already been delivered to the company,” he added.

Steven informed Shega that the towers are 40 meters tall and weigh up to five tons.

Woda has supplied 130 towers to Ethiopian Electric Power and 180 towers to Ethio Telecom. The company has also secured an agreement to build 100 smart poles for the Addis Ababa Roads Authority, according to Steven.

Operating on a 20-hectare site in Sebeta, Woda plans to export its products to neighboring countries in the coming years.

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Daniel, a writer and radio host, has a keen interest in technology. Additionally, he has supported various organizations by enhancing their digital presence in his role as a social media manager.