After months of pursuit, the contests for the highly coveted operation licence in Ethiopia seems to have been decided with Safaricom being the lucky winner alongside U.K.’s Vodafone Group Plc.
This was reported by Bloomberg stating that the Ethiopian government also cancelled the sale of a second new permit. However, the authorities stated that they will be open to receiving fresh bids from international wireless carriers. This is after some policy adjustments were made, according to Brook Taye, a senior adviser at the Ministry of Finance.
Vodafone Group Ltd, which is ironically one of the major stakeholders of Safaricom Ltd., will join the Kenyan telco to invest $8.5 billion in their network in the course of the next 10 years. This includes the license fee from Addis Ababa. According to unidentified sources, both firms had to submit a bid of $850 million to get the permit.
Of course, this will be huge especially for Safaricom Plc that had aired its interest in operating in the market that currently holds 110 million people. The contest for this licence was definitely fought for by a number of international telcos from various countries across the continent.
This included MTN and its partners including the Silk Road Fund, a Chinese state investment group.
“The company will enter a commitment of creating 1.1 million jobs in 10 years and cover the country with a 4G service by 2023,” Brook Taye said.
The market that has been operated as a monopoly took a turn after the Ethiopian government decided to open it up in 2018 in a bid to “reform the economy”.
We will definitely have to wait for an official statement from Safaricom about its plans in the Horn of Africa nation.