The Ethiopian government has announced that it will launch tenders in next October for the partial privatization of the only mobile phone operator, Ethio Telecom, as well as the granting of two mobile phone licenses. Ethiopia is the last major African telephony market still closed to competition.
By February 2021, the government hopes to have sold 40% of Ethio Telecom’s capital and sold two mobile phone licenses. It is a real revolution for a country hitherto closed to foreign operators.
Ethio Telecom actually has the monopoly on mobile telephony. And it is not a clear success. The company ranks among the worst performing in the affiliated world. In Ethiopia, internet access is slow and expensive, communication remains expensive.
An opening to strengthen the sector
Ethio Telecom has a debt of over $ 3 billion to China, whose companies control the infrastructure. The government hopes that the partial privatization of Ethio Telecom combined with the opening up of competition will boost the sector.
The cake is mouthwatering. It represents 90 million consumers and 45 million customers for Ethio Telecom. In Africa, Ethiopia is the last major opportunity for international operators. All the giants are in line: Vodafone, MTN, orange, Telkom. A total of a dozen groups have until October to submit their offerings.