Ethiopia finally opens up telecoms market

It's one of the world's last closed markets for mobile communications.

But now Ethiopia is finally set to allow competition in the telecoms sector.

The country's finance ministry said Monday (April 26) that it had received two bids for operating licenses.

One is from South Africa's MTN.

The other from a consortium including Kenya's Safaricom and UK giant Vodafone.

A senior adviser at the ministry told Reuters it shouldn't take more than a week for a decision on awarding the licenses.

It's all part of moves to free up the country's economy.

The liberalisation will also see the sale of a 45% stake in Ethio Telecom.

France's Orange is thought to be among companies interested in taking a part of that.

Back in 2019, when liberalisation plans were set out, local traders seemed pleased.

Competition should improve service, said this broker in Addis Ababa.

The winning bidders will get full operating licenses.

But officials said last year they would be expected to build their own infrastructure, and would not be allowed to operate mobile-phone based financial services.

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