Ethiopian Communications Authority Invites Bid for a Second Telecom License

The Ethiopian Communications Authority have published a Request for Proposals for a second new full-service telecommunications license in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) published a Request For Proposals (RFP) for its second new full-service telecommunications license in Ethiopia, inviting both international and national telecommunications companies to take part in the sealed bidding process.

Marking the next phase of the widely heralded liberalization of Ethiopia’s telecoms market, the second license (License B) is due to be issued in January 2022, introducing a third telecoms operator to compete alongside Ethio Telecom and the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia PLC), and help boost the digital transformation in the country. Since winning the first license (License A) in June 2021, the Global Partnership for Ethiopia has quickly established its local headquarters in Addis Ababa and is preparing to launch its services to the Ethiopian people.

The second license will include Mobile Financial Services and additional spectrum allocation and will have revised pre-qualification criteria to include participation from a wide range of international and national telecommunications operators.

“The goal of liberalizing our telecoms sector has always been to drive competition and attract greater private sector investment as a key part of Ethiopia’s digital transformation. Following our successful first license issuance earlier this year to one of the world’s largest international telecoms consortia, we have continued with our mission and now want to encourage more telecoms operators, of all sizes, to be part of this exciting opportunity. The ECA remains committed to fulfilling Ethiopia’s telecommunications sector reform and this second license issuance is another opportunity for another telecoms operator to join Ethiopia’s fast growing economy next year.”

Eng. Balcha Reba, Director General, ECA

The ECA is well-positioned to deliver a process that is both transparent and fair and continues to manage the license issuance process, which will be taking place in parallel with the partial privatization of Ethio Telecom. This is a separate process due to be concluded before the closing date for the License B bid submission deadline. At the end of the licensing process, there will be three operators with licenses to deliver high-quality telecommunications services in Ethiopia: Ethio Telecom, Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia and the new License B holder.

Bidders have until December 20, 2021 to respond to the RFP, which includes Investment Considerations, Tender Regulations, and full details of the License to be awarded. The final selection will be announced following a thorough evaluation of the proposals according to the pre-defined criteria, and the License B will be granted to the winning applicant, in accordance with the Communications Services Proclamation of Ethiopia.

Opening Ethiopia’s telecommunications market to greater competition will maximize the opportunities presented by the digital economy: reliable and accessible communications for the Ethiopian people leading to improved quality of life, improved connectivity to support rapid economic transformation and growth, job opportunities as a result of having best in class tech, and both local and inward investment.

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