Ethio Telecom’s mobile money service Telebirr surpassed 1 million customers barely a fortnight after launching, Quartz Africa reported.
The news outlet noted announcement of the milestone came directly from incumbent mobile provider Ethio Telecom, which launched the service two weeks ago at an event attended by the country’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
At the unveiling, the company said Telebirr was designed to increase financial inclusion among low income groups. The huge potential of mobile money services in Ethiopia has previously been identified by both the GSMA and the World Bank.
In a report on global mobile money adoption released in 2018, the GSMA branded Ethiopia one of Africa’s “sleeping giants”.
Details of Telebirr’s swift uptake come days after Ethiopian authorities awarded the country’s first mobile licence to a private company following a lengthy tender process.
Winning consortium Global Partnership for Ethiopia is led by Safaricom and also includes its affiliates Vodafone Group, Vodacom Group and their finance partners. The group will be initially unable to launch a rival mobile money service.