The first private mobile operator in Ethiopia moved a step closer to launching services after the nation’s regulator issued a final licence to the newly created local company run by a consortium which recently received the green light to start operations.

In a statement, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) said the licence was issued to Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia, a freshly incorporated local telecoms operating company owned by the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (GPE) consortium which consists of Safaricom, Vodacom, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation and CDC Group.

Effective from 9 July, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia was granted a “nationwide full-service” licence with a term of 15 years and a renewal option for a further 15, subject to fulfilment of all necessary obligations.

Commenting on the move on Twitter, Safaricom congratulated the new entrant for “going beyond and earning a final full-service nationwide telecoms licence to operate in Ethiopia”.

Earlier this month, the consortium announced the new operator will be headed by Vodacom DRC MD Anwar Soussa.

Ethiopia commenced a process to issue two new mobile licences in November 2020, issuing one to GPE in May.

At the time, the consortium pledged to invest $8 billion into the Ethiopian entity in the span of ten years.

After Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia launches services, it will be the second company operating in the market alongside state-run Ethio Telecom.