South Africa’s Econet Global is the latest operator to express an interest in obtaining a licence to deliver services in Ethiopia.
The operator has thrown its hat into a ring that already contains regional rivals such as MTN Group, Orange and Vodacom. Safaricom is reportedly also holding talks with possible backers regarding a potential move into Ethiopia.
Econet Global stated to Bloomberg that it would that it was looking at opportunities in Ethiopia via its subsidiaries, although it did not reveal details of an offer. The group’s units include Cassava Smartech, Distributed Power Africa, Econet Mobile Networks Group, Liquid Telecom, Technites Africa and Vaya Africa.
Last year, Ethiopia’s government announced that it would liberalise the market by divesting part of its holding in state operator Ethio Telecom - which had monopolised the sector for years – and encourage new entrants by making two operating licences available at auction in Q1 2020.
This timeframe is now being pushed back as the government has decided to grant bidders more time to prepare funding. In addition, a general election will be held in Ethiopia in August which will likely factor into the delay.