The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has rubbished claims that Safaricom has been shortlisted to bid for one of the two licences on offer.
“We wish to clarify that to date no proposals have been received for the 2 new telecom licenses, and no prospective bidder has been shortlisted, prequalified nor excluded from participating in the bid process,” they said in a tweet.
Officially, ECA says they have received 12 expressions of interest where 9 are telecoms operators, two are non-telecoms operators and one was an incomplete submission. The next step requires the interest parties to submit a request for proposal document that has an expiration date for submission (April 5, 2021).
The hunt for the two licences for the Ethiopia market may prove to be lucrative. Ethiopia has a population north of 100 million people with a very low penetration rate. The penetration rate in Ethiopia is apparently only 41% of the total population and a very low 19% internet penetration. Safaricom led consortium raised Kshs 55 billion for the hunt for this licence so you can understand why they’d want to get it.
ECA expects to award the licences in the first quarter of 2021. They expect the new licence holders to roll out services in dense urban, urban and suburban areas where 25% of their population lives and later on, services in rural areas will be rolled out over the 4 years that follow. They also said that the licences will be for a 15 year period with a prospect for renewal.