Two international telecom operators will be joining the Ethiopian telecom market shortly, a senior official has said.
State Minister of Finance, Dr Eyob Tekalign on Friday, 5 July 2019, said Ethio Telecom is negotiating with two international telecom operators which will be taking 49 percent of the country’s telecom business while the 51 percent of shares will be controlled by the government.
The move is part of the government’s decision to end monopoly on several sectors about a year ago deciding to partially or fully liberalize major businesses such as telecom, logistics, sugar, power, industrial parks and Ethiopian Airlines.
“Ethio Telecom will be one company with two wings – service provider and infrastructure developer. A foreign company which buys 49 percent can benefit from both wings of Ethio Telecom, as the company remains one,” Dr Eyob said.
Infrastructure investment on telecom infrastructures is open for foreign telecom companies, according to Dr Eyob, who stated that the sector requires huge investment amounting 2.2 billion dollars in order to leapfrog the country into the digital economy.
“World bank is the one consulting us…With market big like Ethiopia we expect 50 to 60 expression of interest, he said. Currently there are 40 million mobile subscribers in Ethiopia, he added.
Commenting on why only two more telecom operators are allowed to enter the market with over 100 million plus population, he stated that the global experience and recent trend shows merging and small number of operators with in a given market.
The state minister declined to mention the names of the two international telecom operators.