A senior Ethiopian minister indicated the country could walk away from the process of allocating two new telecommunication licences if bidders failed to meet its valuation of the assets, Bloomberg reported.

Citing comments from Eyob Tekalign Tolina, State Minister in Ethiopia’s finance ministry, the news outlet said the level of its price expectation was the result of three independent valuations.

If this price is not met, he added the country would “have another look”. The figures involved were not disclosed.

Tekalign Tolina also noted the country planned to provide a level playing field to the new competitors, apparently addressing concerns raised by figures including policy World Bank country director Ousmane Dione last month. He, however, did not detail specific policies.

His comments come as bidders prepare their final applications for the two new licences on offer ahead of an extended deadline of 5 April.

Several international operator groups submitted initial expressions of interest and are likely to be among the principal contenders. These include MTN Group, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company, Etisalat and Global Partnership for Ethiopia, a consortium comprising Vodafone Group and its affiliates Safaricom and Vodacom.