Ethiopia’s communications regulator launched a tender to issue a second private telecoms licence as it attempts to attract fresh investment and increase competition in the sector after Safaricom launched services in 2022.

The communications authority issued a Request for Qualifications notice (RFQ) inviting participants to get involved by filing expressions of interest by 15 September.

It opened a consultation to shape the process in November 2022.

A consortium run by Safaricom received Ethiopia’s first private mobile licence in 2021, launching nationwide service a year later.

The first tender was originally designed to find two new players, however an offer by MTN Group was rejected in favour of retendering.

In the new RFQ, the regulator explained there had been several positive developments in the sector since “the beginning of the liberalisation process”, including strong legal and regulatory frameworks for telecom and mobile financial services, along with availability of additional spectrum.

Safaricom’s entrance added to services offered by state-owned Ethio Telecom, which previously enjoyed a monopoly status.

As part of the regulator’s push to attract new funds, it is also looking to sell a 40 per cent stake in the incumbent.