Twelve telecom companies have thrown their hat into the race to enter the Ethiopian market according to the country’s communications regulator.
The bidders range from top players across the continent and a number of global players.
The disclosure of bidders is the first stage in liberalization process of the market which is currently occupied by the state monopoly Ethio Telecom. In the end, only two licences will be granted.
In a statement, the Ethiopia Communications Authority (ECA) said that of the 12 submissions, nine were from telecoms operators, two were from non-telecoms companies and one was incomplete.
Among those interested are:
A joint South African-Kenyan-British bid from Vodafone, Vodacom, and Safaricom South African company MTN Saudi Telecom Company French company Orange
The ECA now has to assess the companies to find the “operators that would fit best into the Ethiopian market.” “This is the initial stage. We will soon have… the second stage,” ECA head Balch Reba is quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
Phone and internet business in Africa’s second most populous nation, with an estimated 109 million people, rests on Ethio Telecom. According to the World Bank, the decision to liberalize could transform the market and boost the number of mobile subscribers, which stood at 37 million in 2017.