Ethiopia edges closer to issuing new telecom licences

01 May 2020

Ethiopia has taken a major step toward liberalising one of the world’s final frontiers for telecoms by publishing the final draft of directives that mention spectrum permits will be valid for 15 years.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority said in a statement on its webstie that it wouldhold consultations on the proposed rules for 14 days ending May 11.

It said it would review and “consider the comments in adopting the directives” on issues including licensing, consumer rights and dispute resolution.

Prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration wants to offer two new licenses and sell part of the state-controlled monopoly, Ethio Telecom, to help liberalise the economy and attract more foreign investment. Vodacom Group, MTN Group, Orange SA and Helios Towers have already expressed interest in investing in Africa’s second-most populous nation of more than 100 million people.

The issuance of licenses for operations including mobile-network services will be by auction, beauty contest or a hybrid.

Ethiopia’s initial plans to issue licenses by March 2020 were delayed by elections, which the government later postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.