Safaricom Races Against 11 Other Firms For Ethiopia’s Telecom Licence

Image courtesy Khusoko

It is no news by now that Safaricom has made a bid and submitted its application with the Ethiopian government for full-service telecommunication licenses in Ethiopia.

The Kenyan telco firm has for a while now been making efforts to expand to more countries around the continent. Ethiopia is currently one of the most attractive destinations not only for its huge population (109.2 million) but also the untapped potential in the industry.

The country telecom sector has been led by Ethio Telecom, a monopoly that has lasted for almost a century. This has hindered any other telco company whether local or foreign from conducting any business but it is all set to change soon enough.

It had been known that other foreign firms other than Safaricom have also been interested in tapping into the market but it wasn’t clear which ones exactly. Well, now it is official that Safaricom is just one of the 12 companies that have officially made the move to hopefully win the bid.

This comes after the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) announced that the country would now be open to selling a 40% state in the state-owned company. The acquisition of this stake will then lead to the issuance of two nation-wide full-service telecommunication licences.

All the prospective bidders were requested to provide information on their organizational structure, global operating footprint, details of countries of operation, number of mobile phone subscribers, and other relevant information. This is meant to help the Ethiopian authorities analyse every bidders’ strength thus determining who is best qualified to operate in the market.

The participants include:

  • Global Partnership for Ethiopia (a consortium of telecom operators made of Vodafone, Vodacom, and Safaricom)
  •  Etisalat
  • Axian
  • MTN
  • Orange
  • Saudi Telecom Company
  • Telkom South Africa
  • Liquid Telecom
  • Snail Mobile
  • Two non-telecom operators – Kandu Global Telecommunications and Electromecha International Projects

The ECA says that all contestants will be kept informed and engaged as the process goes on. All they now have to do is keep their fingers crossed.

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