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Ethiopia to sell stake in Ethio Telecoms; opens market to competition

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Strap: The authority will auction two telecom licences that will commence on December 1

Ethiopia seeks to sell a minority stake in Ethio Telecoms in the next nine months. In addition, the African nation also plans to tender for two new licences that will commence on December 1. Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous nation. 

The country has recognised a lot of value in the telecom industry and it will enhance state-run sectors with a series of reforms. The Ethiopian government is optimistic that opening one of the last major telecom markets to competition will lead to enormous online job opportunities. 

Balcha Reba, director-general of the Ethiopian Communications Authority, told the media, “The authority does not expect any delays, and we expect the bid for two new licences will be floated in a couple of weeks.”

It is reported that the new telecom service providers in the country will have to extend their network coverage to 25 percent of the population. They are expected to do so within a year of foraying into the Ethiopian market. Again, those providers will have to achieve 40 percent within 24 months, 55 percent within 36 months, 70 percent within 48 months and 80 percent within 60 months. 

 This means, the new telecom operators will have to cover 97 percent of the national coverage within 15 years of launching their services. According to the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA), Ethio Telecom will receive 15MHz in the 900MHz band and 35MHz in the 1,800MHz band. That said, each new operator will receive 10MHz of capacity in the 900MHz band and an additional 20MHz in the 1,800MHz band.

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