The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) confirmed that 12 firms have made Expressions of Interest (EoIs) on the country’s two new telecoms licences.
Nine of the bids were from companies already involved in the telecommunications sector, with interest from African groups as well as those from further afield. The licences are expected to generate around US$1 billion in revenue.
Kenya’s Safaricom had already confirmed its interest in Ethiopia, and has lodged an EoI as part of a consortium with Vodafone and Vodacom, which the companies have branded as Global Partnership for Ethiopia. France’s Orange Group, Madagascar’s Axian, Saudi Arabia’s stc, South Africa’s MTN Group and Telkom SA, the UAE’s Etisalat, and pan-African group Liquid Telecom were also named as interested parties, along with Chinese MVNO Snail Mobile.
The ECA also confirmed that two EoIs were received from Electromecha International Projects and Kandu Global Telecommunications, neither of which currently function as telecoms operators. A final bid from an unnamed company was described by the ECA as being incomplete.
The two full-service licences will have an initial validity of 15 years, with options to renew. They will be technology neutral, allowing the use of “a range of spectrum across multiple frequency bands.” Licensees will be required to commit to “reasonable” pricing structures as well as meeting agreed coverage quotas for geographies, population, universal access and teledensity.