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Ethiopia gets ball rolling on new telecommunications licenses

Ethiopia , 06 May 2020
The Ethiopia Communications Authority (ECA) is consulting stakeholders regarding draft directives towards new telecommunications licenses.
The Ethiopia Communications Authority (ECA) is consulting stakeholders regarding draft directives towards new telecommunications licenses.

The Ethiopia Communications Authority (ECA) is consulting stakeholders in the telecommunications industry regarding its newly drafted directives for the allocation of new telecoms licenses.

ECA’s Director General Balcha Reba said, “We will review all submissions we receive and will consider the comments in adopting the directives. The consultations close at 23:59 East Africa time on 11 May.”

The regulator said it is also working on additional guidelines covering quality of service, numbering, interconnection, sharing and colocation infrastructure, telecommunications rights of way and the universal access obligation framework.

Plans to open up Ethiopia’s telecoms sector began in 2019.

In October 2019, ITWeb Africa reported the government’s plans to privatise Ethiopia’s effective monopoly operator, state-controlled Ethio Telecom.

But in March 2020 the government stated that it would delay the process, claiming the initial schedule was too aggressive and the process would have to extend beyond March 2020.

The process has attracted the attention of major players including Safaricom which is planning a joint bid with other interested parties, and telecoms infrastructure company Helios Towers.

Despite these setbacks, the government said it remained committed to liberalizing Ethiopia’s telecoms market, repositioning it to become competitive and attract foreign investments. A total of two new mobile licenses are planned to be issued, in addition to the privatisation of incumbent operator Ethio Telecom.

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