Ethiopia Makes a Step Forward to Issue Telecom Licenses

ADDIS ABABA – Authorities in Ethiopia have moved a step closer to open up one of the world’s last major closed telecoms markets by publishing the final draft of directives including licensing.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority, a new communication regulator, plans to hold consultations on the proposed directives for consecutive days between April 28 to May 11, 2020.

The final draft rules are Telecommunications Licensing Directive, Consumers Rights and Protection Directive, and Dispute Resolution Directive, said the regulator in a statement late Monday.

Additional directives, forthcoming in the next few days, will cover areas such as Quality of Service (QoS), Numbering, Interconnection, Infrastructure Sharing and Collocation, Telecommunications Rights of Way, and Universal Access obligation framework.

“We will review all submissions we receive and will consider the comments in adopting the Directives,” said the Authority.

The government of Ethiopia plans to award two telecoms licenses to multinational mobile companies in 2020, and sell part of the state-controlled monopoly, Ethio Telecom.

South African operator MTN, Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates and Western telecoms companies like Vodafone and France’s Orange are likely to be among the leading bidders, according to reports.

The telecoms sector is considered the big prize in a push to liberalize Ethiopia’s economy launched last year by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Image: Sales office Ethio Telecom, the sole provider of telecom services in Ethiopia. [Photo BBC]