Ethiopia could have no fewer than three telecoms operators active as early as April 2020, if the current plans to liberalise the telecoms sector are realised, according to Addis Fortune. With a view to preparing for market liberalisation, the country’s new telecoms regulator, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA), is reported to have launched a public consultation process ahead of issuing any new concessions. It is understood that the ECA aims to gather feedback from interested parties regarding the proposed legal framework which would pave the way for the entrance of two new telecoms providers, with a deadline for submissions of 22 November having been set. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the ECA will hold a meeting in Addis Ababa on 12 November to answer questions regarding its liberalisation plans from interested parties.
Should the regulator stick to its proposed timetable, it expects to issue licences in March 2020, with ECA director general Balcha Reba cited as saying at a press briefing: ‘We expect the country to have three telecom operators starting from April.’
Earlier this year, in June 2019 the Ethiopian parliament approved the ‘Proclamation for the Regulation of Communications Services’, new legislation which underpins the planned liberalisation of the country’s telecoms sector – which currently remains a monopoly of Ethio Telecom – and also allowed for the establishment of the independent regulatory body, the ECA, which was subsequently created in September 2019.