Business – BBC News

Consumers will soon have a lot more choice when it comes to their mobile phone

Consumers will soon have a lot more choice when it comes to their mobile phone provider

The first stage in the opening up of one of the continent’s
largest telecoms markets is now complete as Ethiopia’s communications regulator
has revealed that it has received interest from 12 potential buyers of two
licences.

Up to now, state-owned Ethio Telecom has had a monopoly
on the phone and internet business in Ethiopia, which has a population of 109
million.

The introduction of competition could transform the market
and boost the number of mobile subscribers, which stood at 37 million in 2017
according to the World Bank.

In a statement, the Ethiopia Communications Authority (ECA) said
that of the 12 submissions, nine were from telecoms operators, two were from
non-telecoms companies and one was incomplete.

Among those interested are:

  • A joint South African-Kenyan-British bid from Vodafone,
    Vodacom, and Safaricom
  • South African company MTN
  • Saudi Telecom Company
  • French company Orange

The ECA now has to assess the companies to find the “operators
that would fit best into the Ethiopian market”.

“This is the initial stage. We will soon have… the second stage,” ECA head Balch Reba is quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

No timetable has been set for the process.

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