The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has denied shortlisting contenders for the country’s two new operating licences after Safaricom chairman Michael Joseph claimed that that his firm’s application was one of six on the alleged list.
In response to Joseph’s statement to Business Daily Africa, the ECA said: “We wish to clarify that to date no proposals have been received for the two new telecom licenses, and no prospective bidder has been shortlisted, prequalified nor excluded from participating in the bid process. The RFP [request for proposals] process is ongoing.”
In his comments, Joseph claimed that Safaricom was finalising the technical details for its submission. Together with Vodacom Group and Vodafone Group, Safaricom has formed the Global Partnership for Ethiopia consortium in order to bid for an Ethiopian operating licence.
The ECA confirmed that it has received expressions of interest from 12 parties, including international groups Etisalat, MTN Group, Orange and STC. Final submissions are due before 5th April, with the ECA having pushed back the deadline earlier this month after requests by interested parties.
State incumbent Ethio Telecom has long held the monopoly on the market, and there are concerns that current policies could put newcomers at a disadvantage, with the World Bank's Ethiopian country director Ousmane Dione cautioning against this last week.