Ethiopia pushes on with opening of telecoms market

Ethiopia pushes on with opening of telecoms market

Spectrum allocation and coverage targets in the Ethiopian telecoms market were detailed as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, looked to press ahead with plans to open up the traditionally closed-off telecoms market.

The Reporter said Ahmed held a meeting last week with the macroeconomic reform team and members of the Privatisation Advisory Council, to progress the country’s sweeping economic reforms.

In the meeting, the Ethiopian Telecommunications Authority was noted to release licenses in five frequency bands including to two new operators, who will apparently be awarded 10MHz blocks in the 800MHz and 900MHz bands, as well as 20MHz in the 1800MHz band.

State-owned operator Ethio Telecom will hold a 10MHz block in the 800MHz band, and retain 15MHz and 35MHz, in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands respectively, CommsUpdate reported.

All three will be given 20MHz each in the 2,100MHz band and 20MHz in the 2,600MHz band.

The new entrants will have to reach 25% population coverage with a year of entering the market, then 40% within two years, 55% in three years, with the last major coverage obligation being 97% but 15 years after launching.

Ethiopia is seen as the last bountiful telecoms market with a high population of 110 million people. The Ethiopian Communications Authority received 12 bids from interested parties to enter the market when announcing foreign companies could enter.

The government will also sell 40% of Ethio Telecom to international bidders and 5% to the nation’s people. It also aims to sell all mobile network operator licenses by 2021.


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