The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has finally announced the bid winner for its telecommunications operating licence. As indicated by reports, Vodafone, Vodacom, and Safaricom have won the bid that has been eyed to be the opening driver to Ethiopia’s telecommunications industry.
The process, which was delayed numerous times, had received interest from Telkom SA, Etisalat, Saudi Telecom Company, Orange, and Liquid Telecom. Explaining the numerous delays in closing the bid, the ECA said that this resulted from the requests submitted by bidders to have more time to finalise their offer in light of the COVID19 market environment. The Authority deemed their demands as appropriate hence the submission deadline for the bid was extended from 5 March to 26 April 2021.
The Director-General of ECA, Balcha Reba, said the Authority understood why more time was necessary for putting the bid together. Reba explained that when bidders put their proposals together, the bidding companies generally would require time to meet and present their proposal to their board of directors, shareholders and financial partners to get final approval on their investment and offer before submitting their bid to the Authority.
According to the Adviser in the Ministry of Finance, some companies dropped out of the bid due to rising concerns about not accessing Ethiopia’s mobile phone financial services due to restrictions on winning the licence bid.
Reports have indicated that the Group will be investing US$8.5 billion into their network over the next ten years. The government is also expected to raise US$1 billion in revenue from the two 15 year licences.