Safaricom has made it to the shortlist of the six companies that have been cleared to bid for the coveted Ethiopian telecoms licences on offer.
According to BD, the Ethiopian Communications Authority shaved down the list from 12 that expressed interest for the telco licence to 6.
“There are about five to six consortia who are qualified to bid. Bids are due to be submitted in April,” said Michael Joseph, Safaricom chairman, in an interview to Business Daily.. “We are working towards the final submission around March/April.”
The firms will now we required to submit their technical and finance bids by April 5, which was pushed forward from the previous deadline of March 5th.
Safaricom has been working hard to get into the Ethiopian market which has more than double the population of Kenya. Its consortium managed to get a $500 million loan form the US International Development Finance Corporation which will help it get the $1 billion needed to break into the Ethiopian market.
If they manage to get into the market, Safaricom will have the opportunity to diversify beyond the Kenyan market and offer their services to a whole new market which would be lucrative in the end. Ethiopia only has a penetration rate of only 44% which is low compared to Kenya’s 109.2% penetration rate. The eventual winners of the new licenses will not be allowed to offer mobile phone based financial services like MPESA which is a bummer for Safaricom.