Ethio Telecom and Thunes set to collaborate for payments


Valentina Vitali
Valentina Vitali
Research Analyst
Valentina is a Research Analyst and passionate about payments and fintech. Valentin enjoys analysing money transfer companies and the market. In her work, Valentina analyses payments data… Read more
  • Ethio Telecom, which is a major provider of telecommunications services in Ethiopia, will work with Thunes to offer better cross-border payments services in the sub-Saharan African nation.
  • The new collaboration, which will be named telebirr, will see approximately 11 million customers able to benefit.
  • “Ethiopian people rightfully expect payments to be fast, inclusive, and affordable, and through the power of our technology we hope to address the needs of consumers and businesses in this dynamic market,” said a spokesperson for Thunes.

Ethio Telecom, a major telecoms service operator in Ethiopia, will work alongside the global payments platform Thunes as part of a new push for better mobile-led cross-border payments.

As the biggest telecoms operator in Ethiopia, it will now be able to access the Thunes network.

The collaboration will be named telebirr and will be the country’s first ever mobile network operator-led cash-sending service.

It is expected that around 11 million consumers will be able to benefit from the move.

It will be possible for telebirr customers to receive real-time cash transfers from across the globe, and it is believed that this will cover over 110 nations and more than 70 currencies.

In a statement, the senior vice president for Africa at Thunes said that mobile operators were a key node in the innovation ecosystem in Africa.

Sandra Yao said that operators had the power to drive up adoption of new financial services.

“In Africa, mobile operators play a crucial role in driving innovation and adoption of financial services,” she said.

“So we are extremely delighted to collaborate with ethio telecom on this initiative and enable real-time payments into the Telebirr mobile money accounts.”

She went on to say that there was a firm expectation in Ethiopia that payments would be “affordable”, “inclusive” and more.

“Ethiopian people rightfully expect payments to be fast, inclusive, and affordable, and through the power of our technology we hope to address the needs of consumers and businesses in this dynamic market,” she explained.

For Ethio Telecom, meanwhile, the chief executive officer pointed out that mobile phones offer a much larger range of services than just internet access.

Frehiwot Tamru said that payments of goods were also a key part of the picture.

“Today, our customers’ mobile phones are not just used to make phone calls and access the Internet.”

“With telebirr, they’re also used to send, receive, and store money, alongside payments for goods, utilities, airtime and other empowering services,” she explained.

She also pointed out that working alongside Thunes would offer a chance for customers to get “any amount” in remittances.

“Moreover, our engagement with Thunes will enable our customers to easily receive any amount of International Remittance through telebirr,” she said.

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