Global Partnership for Ethiopia secures telecom license

The Council of Minister of Ethiopia today announced accepting the $850 million license fee offer of Global Partnership for Ethiopia, a consortium of major international telecom service providers.

The consortium involving Safaricom, Vodaphone, Vodacom, Sumitomo Corporation, and CDC Group is the first private telecom operator in the east African country with over 100 years of telecommunications service history.

The consortium during its operation aims to create jobs for 1.5 million people, according to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s social media post. “The Council of Ministers has unanimously made a historic decision today allowing Ethiopian Communications Authority to grant a new nationwide telecom license to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia which offered the highest licensing fee and a very solid investment case,” he twitted.

“With over USD 8 billion total investment, this will be the single largest FDI into Ethiopia to date. Our desire to take Ethiopia fully digital is on track. I would like to thank all that have taken part in this and for pulling off a very transparent and effective process!” twitted Abiy.
It is indicated that the reason the government has selected the consortium is because it has offered some $200 million more than the offer made by MTN Mauritius limited, and has the international experience the Ethiopian government was looking for.

The Council of Ministers has also ordered the Ethiopian Communications Authority, which is in charge of handling the bidding process, to speedup the process of finalizing the second telecom service license.

It is recalled that MTN and Global Partnership for Ethiopia have submitted their bid for the two telecom service license Ethiopian Government has invited bidders for. Meanwhile it is not clear so far if MTN will be considered or will negotiate to secure the second telecom license.

Out of the 12 global telecom operators, which have shown interest to enter telecom market of Ethiopia, nine have purchased bid documents to compete for the two telecom licenses.