APPLICATION

Ethiopia receives Safaricom's bid for operational licence

In Summary
  • In April, Safaricom had announced teaming up with its South Africa-based parent firm Vodacom Group to make a bid for one of the licences.
  • The Ethiopian government is enjoying the monopoly in the telecommunication sector 
Safaricom house. FILE
Safaricom house. FILE

Ethiopia’s communications regulator said on Friday it received twelve bids for the two telecom licences it plans to award to multinational mobile companies, breaking the state monopoly.

Nine bidders are telecom operators and two non-telecom operators, and one submission was incomplete, the regulator said.

Bidders include Etisalat, Axian, MTN, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company, Telkom SA, Liquid Telecom, Snail Mobile, and Global Partnership for Ethiopia, a consortium of telecom operators made of Vodafone, Vodacom, and Safaricom.

The two non-telecom operators are Kandu Global Telecommunications and Electromecha International Projects.

The issuing of licenses will open up one of the world’s last major closed telecoms markets in the country of around 110 million.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority said the licenses will be awarded through a “competitive bidding process,” but did not clarify a deadline for it.

“This is the initial stage. We will soon have...the second stage,” said Balch Reba, director-general of the Ethiopian Communication Authority.

In April, Safaricom had announced teaming up with its South Africa-based parent firm Vodacom Group to make a bid for one of the licences.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed telecommunication firm revealed they could spend more than about $1 billion (Sh106 billion) in the transaction besides start-up costs if their bid is successful.

Winners for the bids to be overseen by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which was appointed by the Ethiopian government to provide transaction advisory services will be unveiled by December next year.