Ethiopia issues new licence bid deadline

06 April 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Ethiopia has again extended the deadline for telcos to bid for new operating licences.

In a tweet, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) said it had taken the eleventh-hour decision in response to requests from bidders, pushing the deadline from 5 April to 26 April, 10am local time.

ECA said on Twitter: "Due to requests by bidders to have more time to finalize their offer in light of Covid market environment, ECA determined their question to be appropriate and the deadline for submission of bids for the 2 new Telecom Operator Licenses is extended."

Airtel withdrew from the bidding process earlier this year, but both Orange and Vodafone remain in the running, having confirmed to Capacity last month that they were planning to submit bids by the earlier extended deadline of 5 April. China's Sharing Mobile has also confirmed its intention to bid.

In February, Ousmane Dione (pictured), the World Bank’s country director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan warned in a blog post that the government should not take measures that hinder the development of telecoms in the country.

In a Facebook post later that month, Ethiopia's Ministry of Finance said the country was looking to follow in the footsteps of Nigeria where "the telecom sector jump-started strong economic growth", following deregulation.

It wrote: "Technological advancements in the telecommunications sector evolve rapidly and require expertise and regular updates and investments in new infrastructure. Liberalising the telecoms sector is a prerequisite to jump-starting Ethiopia’s digital revolution.

"This process is a win-win. As new operators come into the market and digital services and access expand, opportunities in new industries, with new customers, by new firms will expand as well. Private-sector-led technology and innovation are foundational for employment growth in Ethiopia, including among the youth. This digital transformation will change the way we live and do business in Ethiopia."