The management of Ethiopian state-owned fixed line incumbent Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) has been officially transferred to European giant France Telecom (FT), AllAfrica.com reports. It is understood that a deal between the French company and existing management at ETC was signed last week. Under the terms of the agreement FT will take control of the telco on behalf of the Egyptian government for a three-year period, and it will be paid an annual management fee, while there reportedly also remains a possibility of revenue sharing from enhanced services, although this has not been confirmed. It has, however, been claimed that the deal has yet to be sent to the Council of Ministers for approval.
FT, which faced competition from South Africa’s MTN Group and Indian state-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) for the ETC management contract, will now be tasked with implementing the government’s ambitious plans to expand telecom services nationwide. The state has said that it wants basic telecom services made available within a radius of five kilometres to 100% of the population by the end of 2010. The government has set aside USD2 billion over a two-year period to expand the infrastructure, aiming to boost the number of Points of Presence (PoP) it has from 1,900 at end-2006 to 17,000 by end-2010. ETC is also aiming to increase fixed line subscribers to four million and mobile customers to 8.5 million by that date.