Ethiopia confirms shelving third telecoms licence

Ethiopia confirms shelving third telecoms licence

The Ethiopian government reportedly confirmed it cancelled the process of issuing a third telecoms licence pointing to a lack of interest, as reports surfaced last week highlighting interested parties were put off by political instability in Ethiopia.  

"The licence process has been terminated. We had not launched a request for bids yet, because we wanted to assess market potential and readiness," said Hinjat Shamil told Reuters, the senior adviser at the ministry overseeing the bidding process. 

She added: "The market interest didn't match ours for now to launch the RFP (Request for Proposals)."

Bloomberg reported last week, that interest in the third licence has been low due to concerns about political unrest in Ethiopia

The government had launched a request for qualification for the third telecoms licence earlier this year with a deadline for interested parties set for September 15, as part of the government's plan to fully liberalise the telecoms market. 

Ethiopia was seen as one of the last untapped markets for international companies due to its massive 120 million population. The Ethiopian government opened its doors to overseas investment in 2018 due to a new administration which opened the doors for Safaricom Ethiopia to come into play, and challenge incumbent state-owned operator Ethio Telecom. 

The government is currently looking to sell up to a 45% stake in Ethio Telecom to fund upgrades and expansion to keep it competitive against its new rival. 


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