Ethiopia prime minister Abiy Ahmed announced plans to sell a five per cent stake in state-owned Ethio telecom to citizens, as part of plans to break the monopoly held by the operator and open up the traditionally closed market.
Citing a report from state-affiliated news outlet Fana Broadcasting, Reuters reported the government will retain a 55 per cent share in Ethio telecom, with the remaining 40 per cent up for bid to international companies.
Upon announcing the opening of the country’s telecoms market to foreign companies, the Ethiopian Communications Authority received 12 bids from interested parties to operate in the country which has a population of 110 million people.
The licences are predicted to generate around $1 billion in revenue, with interest from: Safaricom, Orange Group, Axian, STC, MTN Group, Telkom SA, Etisalat, Liquid Telecom and Chinese MVNO Snail Mobile.
Although the borders are open for foreign telecommunications firms, infrastructure companies were suspended entry after reported protest from Ethio Telecom, stating it had spent billions of dollars in infrastructure and demanded first opportunity to rent networks to incoming operators.