September 28th, 2021, Addis Ababa: The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) published today a Request For Proposals (RFP) for its second new full‐service telecommunications license in Ethiopia, inviting both international and national telecommunications companies to take part in the sealed bidding process.
Marking the next phase of the widely heralded liberalization of Ethiopia’s telecoms market, the second license (License B) is due to be issued in January 2022, introducing a third telecoms operator to compete alongside Ethio Telecom and the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC), and help boost the digital transformation in the country. Since winning the first license (License A)
in June 2021, the Global Partnership for Ethiopia has quickly established its local headquarters in Addis Ababa and is preparing to launch its services to the Ethiopian people.
The second license will include Mobile Financial Services and additional spectrum allocation and will have revised pre‐qualification criteria to include participation from a wide range of international and national telecommunications operators. Eng. Balcha Reba, Director General of the ECA commented, “The goal of liberalizing our telecoms sector has always been to drive competition and attract greater private sector investment as a key part of Ethiopia’s digital transformation. Following our successful first license issuance earlier this year to one of the world’s largest international telecoms consortia, we have continued with our mission and now want to encourage more telecoms operators, of all sizes, to be part of this exciting opportunity. The ECA remains committed to fulfilling Ethiopia’s telecommunications sector reform and this second license issuance is another opportunity for another telecoms operator to join Ethiopia’s fast growing economy next year.”
The ECA is well‐positioned to deliver a process that is both transparent and fair and continues to manage the license issuance process, which will be taking place in parallel with the partial privatization of Ethio Telecom. This is a separate process due to be concluded before the closing date for the License B bid submission deadline. At the end of the licensing process, there will be three operators with licenses to deliver high‐quality telecommunications services in Ethiopia: Ethio Telecom, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia and the new License B holder.
Bidders have until December 20, 2021 to respond to the RFP, which includes Investment Considerations, Tender Regulations, and full details of the License to be awarded. The final selection will be announced following a thorough evaluation of the proposals according to the pre‐defined criteria, and the License B will be granted to the winning applicant, in accordance with the Communications Services Proclamation of Ethiopia.
Opening Ethiopia’s telecommunications market to greater competition will maximize the opportunities presented by the digital economy: reliable and accessible communications for the Ethiopian people leading to improved quality of life, improved connectivity to support rapid economic transformation and growth, job opportunities as a result of having best in class tech, and both local and inward investment.
The Ethiopian Communications Authority
The ECA was established on August 12, 2019 by the Communications Service Proclamation No. 1148/2019 as an independent Federal Government Authority. The objectives of the Ethiopian Communications Authority are to promote the development of high quality, efficient, reliable and affordable communications services throughout the nation; to enhance a competitive market for the achievement of these goals, and to ensure accessibility and interests of consumers. The ECA has been responsible for managing the telecom license issuance process as part of the government’s 2019 Home Grown Economic Reform Agenda (“2019 Reform Agenda”), which highlights the role of the private sector in driving
sustained growth and creating jobs.