Ethiopia to Reopen Second Telecom License Bid

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia will reopen bidding for its second telecoms operator licence this month, said the regulatory agency of the Communication sector in the East African Nation.

In a statement, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) said the government is launching the bid to sell a second telecom license to international operators after seeing the encouraging outcome of the previous bidding process.

Ethiopia awarded one license to a consortium led by Kenya’s Safaricom in May, after accepting an offer of about $850 million and a commitment to invest ten times that amount over the next decade.

The consortium, namely the Global Partnership for Ethiopia, has, since then, established its local headquarters in Addis Ababa and is currently undertaking activities to launch its services pursuant to the License Agreement entered with the ECA.

Officials of the Authority said many described the liberalization process that awarded the first license as “highly successful”.

Mobile-money services included

Apart from the historic opening of the telecom sector, the sale of the first telecom license brought a significant foreign investment inflow to Ethiopia in the previous fiscal that ended Jul 7, during which the country attracted nearly 4 billion FDI.

“Highly encouraged with this accomplishment,” the Government of Ethiopia, through ECA and the Ministry of Finance, intends to launch the second new telecommunications license in August 2021,” ECA’s statement reads.

“Preparation on the Request for Proposal (RFP) to re-bid the second license is being finalized. The RFP will include integration of Mobile Financial Services in the scope of the license,” it says.

“The ECA, therefore, wishes to inform all interested telecommunications operators to consider this attractive multinational investment opportunity and to remain tuned for additional information by the Authority on the launch date of the bid process,” the statement concludes.

The government of Ethiopia has already put a minority stake in state firm Ethio Telecom up for sale as part of its effort to liberalise the sector and plan to raise funds to boost the economy.

France’s Orange is among the major international companies that has submitted an expression of interest to participate in the ongoing partial privatization of the state-owned firm, which generated 56.5 billion birr (approx. $1.29 billion) revenue in the recently concluded 2020/21 Ethiopian fiscal year.

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