The consortium, which includes Vodafone and Vodacom, paid $ 850 million for the license, according to officials.
Ethiopia’s telecommunications regulator has granted an operating license to a consortium led by Kenya’s Safaricom and Japan’s Sumitomo, officials say, a move that will end the state’s monopoly on its atrophied telecommunications sector.
The consortium, which includes Vodacom, Vodafone and the British development finance agency CDC Group, paid $ 850 million for the license, Brook Taye, a senior adviser to the finance ministry, said on Saturday.
MTN South Africa had also offered to obtain a license, but its $ 600 million bid was considered too low.
According to the government, the Safaricom-led consortium will create up to 1.5 million new jobs and provide $ 8.5 billion in investment over ten years.
The Council of Ministers today adopted a historic decision unanimously that has allowed the Ethiopian Communications Authority to grant a new nationwide telecommunications license to the Global Partnership for Ethiopia, which offered the highest license rate and a case of very solid investment. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/Ht6z95BHzZ
– Abiy Ahmed Ali @ (@AbiyAhmedAli) May 22, 2021
“This will be the biggest FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] so far in Ethiopia, “Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a post on Twitter. very transparent and effective ”.
The Abiy government planned to grant two new telecommunications licenses, but in late April announced that it had only received two offers after some companies that initially expressed interest, including France’s Orange and the United Arab Emirates, opted out. for not presenting it.
Balcha Reba, director general of the Ethiopian Communications Authority, said the second license will soon be re-tendered.
Licenses are expected to provide an infusion of cash, jobs and infrastructure investments.
The Safaricom-led consortium will provide 4G and 5G Internet services, and by 2023, a low-orbit satellite will be launched to provide 4G coverage nationwide, Brook said.
“A momentous day for Ethiopia!” wrote on Twitter.
“Imagine the service and quality efficiency it will generate, the new opportunities, millions of jobs and the transformative effect of our economy!”
Ethiopia’s telecommunications reforms also include a plan to sell a stake in Ethio Telecom, a move officials hope will make the company more efficient.