In what has been described as an eleventh-hour decision in response to requests from bidders, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has again extended the deadline for operators bidding for new operating licences. Instead of 5 April the bids are now required by 26 April.
ECA’s announcement, on Twitter, said: “Due to requests by bidders to have more time to finalize their offer in light of Covid market environment, ECA determined their question to be appropriate and the deadline for submission of bids for the two new telecom operator licenses is extended.”
Airtel withdrew from the bidding process some while ago but Orange, Vodafone and China's Sharing Mobile still plan to submit bids.
Meanwhile the incumbent and still only operator in the country, state-owned Ethio Telecom, has reportedly launched an LTE advanced service in the north-west of the country in a number of cities including Bahir Dar, Debre Markos, Finote Selam, Bure, Dangila, Injibara, and Chagni. Press reports say the company launched an LTE advanced service in the south-east region of Ethiopa, including Adama and Bishoftu, last February.
These rollouts are apparently in response to high levels of mobile data traffic and demand. Similar LTE advanced service rollouts are planned in other parts of the country.
The Ethiopian Herald reports that the operator has also been working on plans to enable a 5G service by 2022.