Ethiopian state-owned Ethio Telecom expects its total revenue to rise 19% in its 2023/24 (July-June)financial year and forecasts a 29% rise in the number of customers on its network using its mobile money services, it said on Friday.
The government plans to sell a stake of up to 45% in the telecoms company, after reviving a previously postponed privatisation process.
Ethio Telecom in a statement posted on its account on X, the platform formerly called Twitter, forecast full-year revenue of 90.5 billion birr ($1.65 billion) and said it aimed to increase its total subscriber numbers by 8% to 78 million, with mobile phone customers rising by almost the same margin to 74.74 million.
Users of its mobile financial service, Telebirr, are expected to rise 29% to 44.1 million, it said.
The telecoms industry is seen as a big draw for investors in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s efforts to open up one of East Africa’s largest economies since he took over in 2018, given the country’s huge population of about 120 million.
However, efforts to attract investment were slowed by a nearly two-year war in northern Tigray that killed tens of thousands and uprooted millions.
Ethio Telecom at present competes with Safaricom Ethiopia, owned by a consortium led by Kenya’s Safaricom (SCOM.NR), which started operations in October 2022.
Ethiopia is also in the process of issuing a tender for a second new telecommunications licence.
Ethio Telecom said it planned to add 998 new mobile base stations to its network during the year.
($1 = 54.7468 birr)