Ethiopia asks operators to register interest in licences

Ethiopia asks operators to register interest in licences

Ethiopia’s regulator has called for parties to register Expressions of Interest in the country’s two new telecommunications licences.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has stated that the licences will be made available to “qualified telecommunications companies” via a competitive auction process. Potential bidders have until 22nd June 2020 to register their interest.

Additionally, the regulator clarified that the licences will be technology-neutral and valid for 15 years with an option to renew. The ECA noted that licence holders would have access to “a range of spectrum across multiple frequency bands.”

Under the basic licence terms and conditions, winning bidders will need to either meet or exceed coverage and teledensity targets based on both population and geographical area. Additionally, licensees’ tariffs must be deemed “reasonable” and universal accessibility is a further requirement.

Finally, the ECA noted that current and new licence holders would be expected to reach agreements on sharing infrastructure and facilities “in order to achieve rapid and cost-efficient network deployment.”

In November 2019, the regulator held a public consultation over issuing the new licences. Following this, it appointed the IFC (International Finance Corporation) as a transaction advisor and began developing “numerous directives that will shape a robust legal and regulatory framework.”