The Ethiopian Communications Authority announced on Friday that Ethiopia has launched a tender for a second telecommunications license, opening up one of Africa’s largest markets to increased competition. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s push to liberalize the economy since 2018 has made Ethiopia’s telecoms industry a highly sought-after prize, given the country’s sizable population of approximately 120 million.
Last year, Safaricom, a Kenyan telecommunications company partly owned by South Africa’s Vodacom Group, made history as the first private operator to enter Ethiopia’s mobile network market. This marked the end of the long-standing monopoly held by state-owned Ethio Telecom. Safaricom’s entry introduced competition and raised expectations for improved services and innovation.
The Ethiopian Communications Authority, in a request for qualifications notice, highlighted the positive developments witnessed in the telecommunications sector since the liberalization process began.
By issuing the tender for a second license, the Ethiopian government aims to encourage a more competitive and dynamic telecoms market. The introduction of a new player is expected to enhance the availability and quality of telecommunications services, attract investments, and promote innovation. This move anticipates providing consumers with more choices, enhancing connectivity, and driving economic growth.
International and regional telecommunications companies are expected to show considerable interest in the tender process, seeking to tap into Ethiopia’s burgeoning market. The government, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Communications Authority, will rigorously evaluate the applications to select a qualified operator capable of contributing to the country’s telecoms sector and advancing its digital transformation agenda.
Ethiopia’s decision to initiate the tender for a second telecommunications license marks a significant milestone in its ongoing economic liberalization, underscoring the commitment to creating a vibrant and competitive telecommunications industry that benefits both citizens and businesses.