Ethiopia calls for expressions of interest in two new telecoms licences

22 May 2020

A request for Expressions of Interest (EoI) for two new telecommunications licences in Ethiopia has been launched by the local telecoms regulator, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA). In a press release regarding the development the ECA confirmed that it plans to award two nationwide licences to ‘qualified telecommunications companies’, with these to be selected through a competitive bidding process in accordance with the Communications Service Proclamation No. 1148/2019. It said interested parties have until 22 June 2020 to submit an EoI.

In a supporting document, the ECA noted that the two licences on offer will: be technology neutral; offer ‘a range of spectrum across multiple frequency bands’; and be valid for at least 15 years with the possibility of renewal. Further, it noted that among the basic terms and conditions of the concessions on offer, there will be a requirement to meet or exceed specified population and geographic coverage targets, as well as a requirement to commit to ‘reasonable’ tariffs, universal accessibility and teledensity targets. Finally, the ECA said that both new and existing licensees will be expected to enter into infrastructure and facilities sharing arrangements ‘in order to achieve rapid and cost-efficient network deployment’.

With the ECA saying that, following a public consultation related to the awarding of new licences in November 2019, it had undertaken a number of important activities, it noted that this included both its hiring of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as a transaction advisor, and the drafting of ‘numerous directives that will shape a robust legal and regulatory framework’.

Ethiopia, Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA)