ZTE could lose Ethio Telecom contract

The Ethiopian government has warned ZTE that it may withdraw from a large contract it placed with the Chinese vendor last year, following concerns over changes to the prices ZTE is proposing to charge.

People familiar with the situation have said that government-controlled Ethio Telecom has already awarded parts of the ZTE contract to rival Chinese vendor Huawei, sparking rumours that the entire contract may be transferred.

The Ethiopian operator is also said to be negotiating with Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia as potential replacements for ZTE.

ZTE’s contract is worth approximately $800 million and includes the delivery of mobile network base stations and other infrastructure to upgrade and expand Ethio Telecom’s network in Ethiopia.

A dropped contract would cause notable damage to ZTE’s business in Africa, following a number of cancelled deals from operators on the continent.

In November last year, Ethio Telecom selected Huawei to roll out a 4G network across the national capital, Addis Ababa.

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