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Telecom Operators Agree on Infrastructure Sharing

ADDIS ABABA – Ethio telecom and Safaricom Telecom Ethiopia Plc have resolved their differences on infrastructure sharing and interconnections following a sector regulator-led mediation.

The talks between two operators on tower and power sharing, transmission capacity lease and interconnection have been dragging on without results since last September.

The Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA) has intervened to mediate after only a few weeks left for Safaricom Ethiopia to launch commercial services as the country’s first private telecom operator.

The Authority initially undertook separate consultations with each party before holding a mediation involving both parties on Wednesday.

The meeting, led by ECA Director-General Balcha Riba, was held in the presence of top officials of the two telecom companies, Ethio telecom’s CEO Frehiwot Tamru, and Safaricom Ethiopia’s CEO Anwar Soussa.

At the end of the meeting, the regulator announced that the ongoing negotiations between the two telecom operators “has been concluded in good faith”.

“Agreement has been reached on all pending issues,” the Authority added.

The Authority expressed its appreciation to both parties “for the effort they have made to finalize the negotiations in the spirit of good faith, and long term partnership”.

Severe disagreement had arisen between the two operators regarding the price and currency of payment for infrastructure sharing scheme, according to media reports.

The Authority had prepared an interim price cap using different techniques in case they were unable to resolve their differences.

In a brief statement on its official Facebook account, Ethio telecom said the multi-rounds negotiations have ended successfully, stating the two firms “will sign agreements soon”.