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Ethiopia sets 11 May as deadline for telecoms competition consultation

Balcha Reba Ethiopian Comms Auth.jpg

Ethiopia has set 11 May as the deadline for its consultation on the terms of the country’s first competitive telecoms licences.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has already issued three consultations – on licensing, consumer rights and dispute resolution – and says it will issue a number of others over the next few days.

These will be on quality of service, numbering, interconnection, infrastructure sharing and co-location, rights of way, and universal access obligations, said Balcha Reba (pictured), director general of the ECA.

“We will review all submissions we receive and will consider the comments in adopting the directives,” he added. The consultations close at 23:59 East Africa time on 11 May.

The effective monopoly operator in Ethiopia is state-controlled Ethio Telecom, though there have been various proposals to privatise it or sell shares in it since 2018, when a new reforming government came into power.

Last year the minister of finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina, told the Reuters news agency that Ethio Telecom had appointed KPMG to advise it on the sale of stakes in the company. He had previously said that the need for telecoms infrastructure investment in the country is “huge”.

In February Michael Joseph, acting CEO of Kenyan operator Safaricom, confirmed the company wants to bid for a telecoms licence in neighbouring Ethiopia in partnership with Vodacom and other companies.

Other companies, such as Etisalat, MTN and Orange, have been named as potential investors in competitive operators in Ethiopia.

 

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