Ethiopia began a long-anticipated tender process for two new mobile licences in the country, inviting international operator groups to submit their final pitches by a 5 March 2021 deadline.
In a statement, the Ethiopian Communications Authority said the nationwide licences would be awarded through a competitive bidding process, with terms and conditions provided to companies on request until 10 December.
The authority hopes to tempt “world class telecommunications operators” to enter the market to compete with incumbent, and currently sole provider, Ethio Telecom.
During the first application phase, a total of 12 players submitted expressions of interest including Orange; MTN Group; STC; Etisalat; and Global Partnership for Ethiopia, a consortium comprised of Vodafone Group, Vodacom and Safaricom.
Privatisation of the sector has been in the works since 2018, when authorities raised the prospect of welcoming overseas investment into Ethio Telecom, a process which is running concurrently to the allocation of new licences.
Full terms for new entrants were not disclosed by the authority, but various media reports over the last two years have speculated these could include commitments related to using domestic companies for specific infrastructure, and restrictions or bans on launch of mobile money services.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back