Ethiopia has launched an Expression of Interest Request for new telecommunication licenses as it liberalizes its telecommunication industry. Finance Minister Eyob Tekalign called foreign operators to officially express interest in Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry in the next four weeks.
“We are now inviting key operators to express their interests officially. This means we would shortlist potential candidates interested in participating in the Ethiopian telecommunication market in the next four weeks. We will go to the more rigorous transaction process of request for qualification and request for proposal,” ENA quoted Eyob.
Ethiopia expects new operators to bring massive knowledge transfers. This is besides the revenue streams and competition in the local market. Upon entry, the operators will share infrastructure with the national telecom company.
“There is also the interconnection issue because Ethio Telecom has now nationwide network. The new operators, till they roll out their network, will share the infrastructure of Ethio Telecom through interconnection. At the same time, they will have a national roaming. So, Ethio Telecom generates both from the interconnection and the national roaming from the new operators.”Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA) Director-General, Balcha Reba
A Public-centric Liberalization Process.
Minister Eyob promised discipline and keen oversight to achieve Ethiopia’s maximum value from assets involved as it liberalizes the industry. A majority of the 40% of Ethio’s shares sold as part of the privatization will go to the Ethiopian public.
“The public can rest assured that the government is running this process in strict discipline and with close oversight of the prime minister himself as the macroeconomic team under him has the responsibility to make sure the process runs properly,” he said.
The country is in the process of privatizing its national telecom operator, Ethio Telecom, as part of its digitization. Last month, the country opened up its mobile money for non-financial services, looking to generate KSh1.34 trillion ($13 billion) by 2025. Different operators globally eye Ethiopia’s mobile money market, including Safaricom, which has shown interest in a KSh 100 billion investment with Vodacom.