Ethiopia sets 10 December deadline for operators to declare

Ethiopia sets 10 December deadline for operators to declare interest

30 November 2020 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Companies wanting to bid for Ethiopia’s two new telecoms licences must get their applications in by 5 March 2021, the regulator has announced.

But first they have to tell the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) of their interest — and that deadline is on 10 December, via written request delivered by email.

The process is running months or years behind schedule. In October 2019 Balcha Reba (pictured), director general of the ECA, said the regulator planned to issue the two licences by April 2020.

This weekend the ECA said of its new deadline that it is “targeting world-class telecommunications operators to become the new licence holders within Ethiopia’s rapidly growing economy”.

The decision to set dates follows a virtual meeting two weeks ago at which 120 stakeholders took part. This “was an extension of the several months-long consultations as well as the Authority’s continued effort to ensure the process is achieved in a fair and transparent manner”, said the ECA.

Each of the two licences will be “nationwide, full-service licences”, said the ECA. They will compete with the state-owned Ethio Telecom. 

In the latest announcement, setting the two deadlines, the ECA said: “The objectives of the telecommunications sector reform are to expand reliable and accessible communications for all Ethiopians in order to enhance the economic and social development of the country and promote rapid economic transformation and growth. Greater connectivity will lead to improvements in the quality of life for Ethiopians and maximize the opportunities presented by the digital economy.” (PDF here)