Ethiopia’s State Operator Ethio Telecom Launches 5G Services

Ethiopia’s State Operator Launches Ethio Telecom 5G Services (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

Ethio Telecom, a state-owned company in Ethiopia, started a 5G mobile phone service on Monday, putting it ahead of new competitors in an industry that had previously been closed to foreign operators.

5G networks, which can provide data speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G, are seen as critical for developing technologies such as self-driving cars and smart device communication and interconnectivity.

The service would first be offered in Addis Ababa, according to Ethio Telecom Chief Executive Officer Frehiwot Tamru, before being expanded to other parts of the country.

CEO OF Ethio Telecom frehiwot tamru

she said; “The 5G service is launched in selected places in Addis Ababa,” 

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“In the coming 12 months, we will have 150 5G sites in Addis Ababa and outside Addis Ababa.”

In a separate statement, Ethio Telecom, which has 64 million subscribers across the country, said Huawei Technologies (HWT.UL) was the network’s equipment supplier.

In the half-year ended Dec. 31, revenues increased by 6.7 percent to 28 billion birr ($544.40 million).

Last June, the government began a tendering process to sell a 40% stake in Ethio Telecom to private investors.

The administration announced in March that the planned partial privatization had been postponed due to the current domestic and global economic situation.

The Ethiopian Communication Authority announced in December that it had also delayed a tender process for a second telecommunications license, which it stated would be relaunched in the “near future.”

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In May 2021, the 110 million-strong Horn of Africa country sold only one of two full-service licenses on offer.

The consortium that won the first license, led by Kenya’s Safaricom SCOM.NR, Vodafone (VOD.L), and Japan’s Sumitomo (8053.T), is currently setting up its network in preparation for an anticipated commercial debut at any time.

The licenses are seen as a significant prize in the country’s attempt to liberalize its economy, which had been one of the last major restricted telecoms markets in the world

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