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Ethiopia Sets January Deadline to Sell Second Telecom Licence

  • Reopens Bidding on Second Telecom Licence

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) said it will issue the second new mobile network operator licence by January 2021.

The Authority said this on a day it has published a request for Proposals (RFP) for second License, inviting both international and national telecommunications companies to take part in the sealed bidding process.

“Marking the next phase of the widely heralded liberalization of Ethiopia’s telecoms market, the second license (License B) is due to be issued in January 2022,” said the Authority.

The tender will help the country introduce a third telecoms operator that will compete with Ethio Telecom and Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia Plc.

The East African nation issued the first license (License A) to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia in June 2021.

Since then, the partnership has set up a headquarters in Addis Ababa for its company registered as Safaricom Telecom Ethiopia Plc, and is preparing to launch its services to the Ethiopian people next year.

Another Opportunity for another Operator

According to ECA, the second license will include Mobile Financial Services an additional spectrum allocation and will have revised pre-qualification criteria to include participation from a wide range of international and national telecommunications operators.

“The goal of liberalizing our telecoms sector has always been to drive competition and attract greater private sector investment as a key part of Ethiopia’s digital transformation,” said Eng. Balcha Reba, Director General of the regulatory agency.

“Following our successful first license issuance earlier this year to one of the world’s largest international telecoms consortia, we have continued with our mission and now want to encourage more telecom operators, of all sizes, to be part of this exciting opportunity, ” he added.

Balcha also said the Authority remains committed to fulfilling Ethiopia’s telecommunications sector reform “and this second license issuance is another opportunity for another telecoms operator to join Ethiopia’s fast growing economy next year.”

December deadline

The tendering process, which is taking place in parallel with the partial privatization of Ethio Telecom, will be “both transparent and fair”, said the Authority.

Ethio Telecom’s partial privatization is a separate process due to be concluded before the closing date for the License B bid submission deadline.

Bidders have until December 20, 2021 to respond to the new RFP, which includes Investment Considerations, Tender Regulations, and full details of the License to be awarded, according to ECA.

The final selection will be announced following an evaluation of the proposals according to the pre‐defined criteria, and the License B will be granted to the winning applicant, in accordance with the Communications Services Proclamation of Ethiopia, it said.

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