Ethiopia Initiates Process for a Third Telecom Licence

Ethiopia Initiates Process for a Third Telecom Licence (News Central TV)
FILE PHOTO: Ethio-Telecom Chief Executive Officer, Frehiwot Tamru addresses delegates during the launch of a mobile phone-based financial service named Telebirr mobile money service, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia May 11, 2021. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopia’s telecommunication regulator, the Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA) has finalised plans to issue an Expression of Interest for a third telecom provider next month.

The Authority’s Director General, Per Balcha Reba said “Preparations are being made to float an expression of interest to bring potential investors who can buy the third licence or the second new full-service licence.”

The new entrant is expected to provide mobile financial services after meeting the requirements of the National Bank of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia Initiates Process for a Third Telecom Licence (News Central TV)

The licence issuance is expected to follow a competitive procurement process during the first quarter of 2023. 

In October 2018, the Ethiopian government said it would reform the telecommunications sector.  It followed it with proposals in 2020 for two additional telecom licences.  

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In May 2021, the ECA awarded Ethiopia’s first ever competitively-tendered Unified Telecommunications Operator Licence to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (“License A”), Safaricom.

Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia is jointly run by Vodacom Group (South Africa), Vodafone Group (UK), Sumitomo Corporation (Japan), and CDC Group (UK).

A year later, the ECA issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) on September 28, 2021, for a second licence.

It however terminated the process in December 2021 when it announced that bidders had temporarily withdrawn their bids due to “concerns and requests from multiple prospective bidders to delay the process.”


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