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MTN, Safricom set to break Ethiopia’s mobile phone market

April 27, 2021

By KWANTA DOUGLAS –

Ethiopia’s Communication Authority (ECA) said on Monday it received bids for license from two reputable telecommunications firms at the close of submission for the bids.

It named the bidders MTN and Safaricom, which have applied for license to break the monopoly in Ethiopia’s mobile phone market.

The ECA recalled that it placed the call for the bids on 27 November, 2020, to identify a company to run the second mobile phone services provider.

Ethiopia, with a population of over 110 million, is considered lucrative for business by most telecom companies. However, only two firms made it to the final bidding process for the mobile phone services provider.

The market is currently dominated by the state-owned Ethiopia Telecommunications, which has a subscriber base of 50 million.

The firm announced recently it planned to launch its own home-grown mobile phone money transfer service.

Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, announced the start of economic reforms targeting the privatisation of state enterprises and the liberalisation of the telecommunications services industry upon his rise to the post of premiership three years ago.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Finance said an extensive review of the financial capabilities of the bidding firm would be carried out and the winner would be announced.

“The ministry of finance and ECA would like to thank the bidding companies for participating in this landmark process. Each bidder had to comply with strict technical criteria to demonstrate the company had the ability to manage the license of this size in Ethiopia,” said Balcha Reba, Director of the ECA.

Both MTN of South Africa and Safaricom Consortium (and its parent firm, Vodafone/Vodacom of the United Kingdom), are undoubtedly Africa’s top telecommunications services firms. (With a report by PANA/NANMTN).

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