The Director General of the Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA) said that the ECA plans to put out an expression of interest for a third telecom provider at the beginning of February 2023.
This comes after the authority called for stakeholder engagement on November 16, 2022, for the third telecoms operating license.
ECA has now started the licensing process for a third or the second new full-service nationwide telecommunications license,” said Balcha Reba, ECA’s Director General, pointing out that the country has a lot of potential to serve an additional telecom operator. We’ve asked several international consulting firms to look at the document,” he said.
Additionally,Balcha said, “Preparations are being made to float an expression of interest to bring potential investors who can buy the third license or the second new full-service license.” The regulator was eager to get potential bidders and anyone interested in participating in a consultation process.
The stakeholder consultation paper says the license will be given through a competitive procurement process. This will happen in the first quarter of 2023. Similarly, it will post an expression of interest at the beginning of February, and it will stay up for a month while it looks at all the answers from stakeholders for the next month.
Concerning other financial projects, it is said that the new entrant will be able to offer mobile financial services after meeting the National Bank of Ethiopia’s requirements.
In October 2018, the government announced that it would move forward with the reform of Ethiopia’s telecommunications sector to move forward with its economic reform and increase competition in the telecommunications sector to improve market conditions.
In June 2020, the government asked for proposals for two more telecom licenses. Only one new operator was chosen, so the ECA canceled the bid for the other license.
Following the cancellation, ECA issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the second brand-new full-service national Telecommunications Service License on September 28, 2021, and the bidding procedure was still ongoing.
But the process was over when ECA said that the bidders had temporarily pulled their bids in December 2021. In a message to the industry, ECA said it had heard “concerns and requests from multiple prospective bidders to delay the process” about the follow-up.
The bid has been refloated for the third time after failing twice.
On May 31, 2021, the ECA gave Ethiopia’s first ever competitively-tendered Unified Telecommunications Operator License to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (“License A”), a private partnership made up of Safaricom (Kenya),
Sumitomo Corporation (Japan), Vodafone Group (UK), CDC Group (UK), and Vodacom Group (South Africa) are now doing business as Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia.
The government currently sells a 40% stake in the publicly traded Ethio Telecom.