Ethiopia to open bidding on second telecoms licence
Government officials in Ethiopia have told media that the country will open bidding for its second telecoms operator licence this month.
According to reports by Reuters today, the award will include the right to operate mobile financial services.
The first licence was awarded in May and two weeks later presented to the Safaricom Vodacom Vodafone partnership by prime minister Abiy Ahmed, who had earlier said the consortium would spend $8 billion building its new network.
As Capacity reported, the consortium — officially the Global Partnership for Ethiopia, backed by US and UK government finance — at the time said it will start operations within six months.
However, South Africa's MTN missed out on the first licence and CEO Ralph Mupita later told shareholders that it was considering a second attempt.
MTN bid US$600 million for the first licence, compared with the Vodafone-backed group’s $850 million.
Mupita said: “We took an approach that the opportunity, as strategic as it was, needed to meet our capital allocation framework and the hurdles that we saw given the licence conditions.”
The developments emerging today are based on information from "two senior government officials", who were not named in the report. However, Balcha Reba (pictured), the director general of the Ethiopian Communication Authority, told Reuters: "We have made some changes that can uplift its value, for instance mobile financial service. We expect to have a strong interest."
Meanwhile in Djibouti, investors have been given until Thursday 16 September to express interest in taking a 40% stake in the incumbent, state-owned telecoms operator.