Ethio Telecom partners Huawei for 4G extension – 5G to launch in 2022

Huawei has signed a contract with Ethiopia’s monopoly operator, Ethio Telecom, for the expansion of 4G its services.

The Chinese company is the main contractor to the roll-out of LTE in the east of the country. Its rival, ZTE, has already installed 4G services in the capital, Addis Ababa, and other parts of central and north-western Ethiopia.

“Our delivery teams worked day and night to meet the target. Regardless of all the challenges, today we are proud and rejoiced to bring you the best LTE Advanced service.”

Chen Mingliang, CEO of Huawei’s Ethiopian operation

Ethio Telecom’s monopoly is set to be broken within the coming months: the regulator has set next Monday as the deadline for applications for two new telecoms licences.

“The move opens a new chapter and brings an immediate impact on congested areas of telecom service.”

Frehiwot Tamiru, CEO of Ethio Telecom

Meanwhile the Ethiopian Herald newspaper has reported the CEO saying Ethio Telecom plans to launch 5G services in 2022 — but it gave no further details.

Companies among those likely to bid for the much-delayed new licences include a Vodafone consortium, involving its African partners Safaricom and Vodacom, plus MTN from South Africa. Orange might bid, though some suggest it is more interested in shares in Ethio Telecom, for which it once had a management contract.

Ethio Telecom said about the new 4G areas: “Given the reliability, high bandwidth and high-speed features of LTE Advanced services, we hope that it will enable and empower our customers to digitize their services, increase productivity and improve their experiences.”

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