The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has confirmed that the Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium (represented by Vodacom, Vodafone, Safaricom and Sumitomo) and MTN have submitted their respective bids for available telecommunications licences.
In a statement, the ECA announced close of bids submission period for the new nationwide services licences officially launched after publication of the Authority’s Request for Proposals (RFP) in November 2020.
ECA Director General Balcha Reba said the Authority is delighted to have had interest from established international telecommunications operators.
Reba said the ECA will be looking for the best all-around partners for the bids submitted. “Commensurate with this unprecedented opportunity, including from Africa’s two telecom giants, MTN-the largest mobile phone operator in the continent and the Vodafone/Vodacom consortium including Kenya’s largest telecom provider, Safaricom.”
26 April 2021 was set by ECA as the final deadline for the submission of bids.
Telkom SA, Etisalat, Saudi Telecom Company, Orange as well as Liquid Telecom all indicated interest in the Ethiopian market.
Brook Taye, an advisor in the Ministry of Finance told Bloomberg that “some companies dropped out due to concerns about being unable to access Ethiopia’s potentially lucrative mobile phone phone-based financial services under the licence and to set up some of their own key infrastructure.”
The government is expected to raise US$1-billion in revenue from the two 15-year licences.
Ethiopia has a population of over 100 million people making it Africa’s second most populous nation after Nigeria and an appropriate market for mobile and fixed-line services.