Ethiopia Denies Shortlisting Safaricom for Telco License

telecom - February 23, 2021

The Ethiopia Communication Authority (ECA) has denied claims that it has shortlisted six firms including Safaricom selected to bid for one of two telco licenses in the country.

This is after a report emerged last week that Kenya’s largest telco Safaricom had made it to the shortlist of six firms. Safaricom’s Chairman Michael Joseph previously said in an interview that the Safaricom consortium, which is made up of Vodacom, Vodafone, among other investors, had been shortlisted to bid for one of the two licenses. Adding that they’re preparing to submit a final bid in March or April.

ECA however said that no bidder has been shortlisted.

“We wish to clarify that to date no proposals have been received for the two new telecom licenses, and no prospective bidder has been shortlisted, prequalified, nor excluded from participating in the bid process. The RFP [Request for Proposals] process is ongoing,” ECA said in a statement.

The authority says the RRP process, launched on 27 November 2020, is still underway, and the proposal submission deadline is April 5, 2021.

Ethiopia announced plans to open up its telecoms sector last year, which state-owned Ethio Telecom had monopolized. In addition to offering licenses to foreign players, the government will also sell a 45 percent stake in state monopoly Ethio Telecom. The country is seeking interest from international telecommunications operators to manage two new telecoms licenses in Ethiopia, which means there will be three operators with licenses to deliver telecommunications services in Ethiopia: Ethio Telecom and two new license holders.

The Safaricom consortium will be contending for the two telco licenses in conjunction with 12 other firms. So far, Etisalat, Axian, MTN, Orange, Liquid Telecom, Snail Mobile, Kandu Global Communications, Saudi Telecom Company Telkom SA, had expressed interest in Ethiopia entry, among others.

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