Ethiopia will reopen bidding for its second telecom licence later in August 2021, which will extend to the right to operate mobile money services in the country earlier not available in the first licence.
A report by Reuters reveals that the Ethiopian Communication Authority uplifted the value of the licence that was not sold in the first round, inviting bidders who fell short in the May bidding. Officials from the Authority are optimistic of the uptake of the second licence as a result of amendments like the addition of the right to operate mobile money service, a right only available national carrier Ethio Telecom.
Mobile money services are likely to attract worldwide operators, presenting an opportunity for regional mobile money leaders like M-Pesa and MTN Momo to split the underserved 112 million Ethiopian population with Ethio Telecom, which boasts over 4 million users on its mobile money platform.
World Bank’s International Finance Corporation will serve as the transaction adviser in the transaction expected to follow the pricing of the first licence valued at $850 million, clinched by a consortium led by Safaricom.
Last week, Safaricom shareholders approved the incorporation of Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC, the subsidiary behind the consortium’s Ethiopia operations scheduled to kick off next year. Shareholders also approved a final dividend of Ksh 0.92 per share and a total dividend of Ksh 36.8 billion payable on or before 30 August 2021