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Ethiopia expects to begin search for a third operator in February

5 Jan 2023

The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) is preparing to invite Expressions of Interest (EoI) from would-be telecoms licensees early next month, Capital Ethiopia reports, citing comments by Balcha Reba, the watchdog’s director general. The article quotes Mr Reba as saying: ‘ECA has now resumed the licensing process for a third licence – or the second new full-service nationwide telecommunications licence … We have invited different international consultation companies to evaluate the document.’ The licensing process was suspended more than twelve months ago, with the regulator pausing its efforts to attract a third operator on 22 December 2021.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in May 2021 Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the ECA named Global Partnership for Ethiopia (GPE), a private consortium comprising Safaricom, Vodafone Group, Vodacom Group, CDC Group and Sumitomo Corporation, as the winning bidder for one of two nationwide concessions that it had put up for grabs. The newcomer went on to stage a full commercial launch in October 2022, under the Safaricom Ethiopia name. In November 2022, meanwhile, the MoF issued an EoI for the partial privatisation of incumbent telecoms provider Ethio Telecom.

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