Ethiopia invites foreign telecom operators

Ethiopia invites foreign telecom operators

The Government of Ethiopia today invites foreign telecom operators to express their interest to enter the second most populous African market currently being served with the state company – Ethio Telecom.

Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has today launched the request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for two new telecommunications licenses in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. In its statement ECA, said that it is managing the license issuance process, which is a major development in the liberalization of Ethiopia’s telecommunications market. “The launch of the EOI represents a significant milestone,” it said.

Two nationwide telecommunications service licenses will be awarded to two qualified telecommunications companies selected through a competitive bidding process in accordance with the Communications Service Proclamation No. 1148/2019. Interested parties are hereby invited to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) no later than 12 p.m. East Africa Time (GMT+3), on 22 nd June 2020.

“The issuance of the two new licenses to telecommunications companies, in addition to the existing license held by Ethio Telecom, is part of the Government of Ethiopia’s Homegrown Economic Reform Agenda to introduce competition into the sector,” ECA (the recently established telecom regulatory body of the country) said.

The primary goals of the government are to increase access to reliable and efficient communications services for all Ethiopians, leading to improvements in quality of life and in connectivity to support rapid economic transformation, and to maximize the opportunity presented by the digital economy, according to ECA statement.

Since the public consultation held in November 2019, we have undertaken a number of important activities, such as hiring the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as a transaction advisor and drafting numerous directives that will shape a robust legal and regulatory framework. The sector liberalization process is continuing amid the Covid-19 crisis which shows the government’s strong will to fight the pandemic while keeping track of the ongoing economic reforms.

“We recognize that the Covid-19 crisis has had a drastic impact on the global economy and continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. The priority of our government is to fight this unseen enemy, supporting our health workers and saving lives. The pandemic has underscored the importance of having reliable and accessible telecommunications to ensure the safety and well-being of Ethiopians and to maintain business continuity. Therefore, we remain committed to opening up the telecom sector and unlocking the transformational power of the digital economy,” ECA said.

Guidelines on the EOI submission are available in the Public Notice accessible at the official website of ECA Ethiopian Communications Authority was established on August 12, 2019 under Communications Service Proclamation No. 1148/2019 as an independent Federal Government Authority. The objectives of the ECA are to promote the development of high quality, efficient, reliable and affordable communications services throughout the nation, to promote a competitive market for the achievement of these goals, and to promote accessibility and interests of the customers.