dark

Breaking News: Ethiopia awards its first private telecoms licence to Vodafone consortium

Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister. Image credit: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock Ethiopia has awarded one out of the two private telco licences it intends to award to a consortium that includes the Vodafone group. The consortium, which made a winning bid of $850 million, comprises Vodafone, Nairobi-based Safaricom Ltd, CDC Group Plc and Sumitomo Corp. The licence…
Breaking News: Ethiopia awards its first private telecoms licence to Vodafone consortium

abiy_ahmed_ethiopia_prime_minister

Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister. Image credit: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock

Ethiopia has awarded one out of the two private telco licences it intends to award to a consortium that includes the Vodafone group. The consortium, which made a winning bid of $850 million, comprises Vodafone, Nairobi-based Safaricom Ltd, CDC Group Plc and Sumitomo Corp.

The licence award is a big step for Ethiopia as it marks the opening of its telecom sector to foreign investors. For years, the state-owned Ethiotel has held a monopoly but will now have competition.

Beyond competition, it will have a significant economic impact, considering that the consortium will create 1.1 million jobs and invest $8.5 billion in the next ten years. According to a tweet by the country’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, “it will be the single largest foreign direct investment into Ethiopia to date.”

The country also announced that it would not grant a second telecoms licence after rejecting a second bid from MTN.

MTN’s bid is not good enough 

The prospect of a market with 112 million people is as good as it gets for many telcos, so it wasn’t surprising that all the big names initially planned to make bids. Etisalat, Orange Telecoms, MTN and Saudi Telecom Company were some of the companies that registered interest. 

In the end, only two companies put bids forward; the Vodafone consortium and MTN. Safaricom, one of the consortium companies, had announced prematurely in March that it had won the bid.

Regardless, MTN also made a bid of $600 million which was considered not good enough, and now the second telecoms licence will now be retendered for new offers. 

One interesting point is that MTN’s bid was financed in part by a Chinese investor, while a newly created US foreign-aid agency backed the Vodafone consortium’s bid. It is a continuation of what some observers call a competition on the tech front in Africa. 

A similar situation played out in Kenya as Safaricom rolled out its 5G service initially with Huawei providing support. The US reportedly had concerns with the decision to use Huawei, in line with a strategy of using its diplomatic might to dissuade African governments from buying into the technology solutions from the Chinese company.

In the end, Safaricom stuck with Huawei but also included the Finnish company, Nokia. Despite this, it is clear that this is not the last we’ll see of the continuing competition between the US and China in Africa’s tech space. 

Get the most comprehensive roundup of technology news on the continent, delivered to your inbox every weekday at 7am WAT

Read this next

IMEI registration will take this step even further, allowing the government even more access to what should be private information. While the argument from the government is that it improves security, there’s the risk that the government can spy on its citizens.

More From TC

It takes a great team to build an equally great product. Centre Stage exists to tell the behind-the-scenes stories of the people building brilliant products and services in Africa.  I’m bringing Tobi Lufadeju to Centre Stage because I admire how determined she is to succeed in her role and how invested she is in her […]

Abdulhamid-Hassan-Co-founder-Mono-min-1

Nigerian financial data startup Mono has raised a seed round of $2 million from a number of investors including Entrée Capital and Lateral Capital.  Babs Ogundeyi, co-founder and CEO of Kuda; Gbenga Oyebode, partner at The Continent Venture Partners; and Eric Idiahi, co-founder and partner at Verod Capital, also invested according to TechCrunch. Mono was […]

next_wave_china_crypto

Next Wave: China’s unique crypto crackdwon $3 million. 13 deals. MAY 23, 2021 This newsletter is a weekly in-depth analysis of tech and innovation in Africa that will serve as a post-pandemic guide. Subscribe here to get it directly in your inbox every Sunday at 3 pm WAT Hello, On May 19, Bitcoin sank to […]

IMEI registration will take this step even further, allowing the government even more access to what should be private information. While the argument from the government is that it improves security, there’s the risk that the government can spy on its citizens.


Read More

Total
0
Shares
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post
Breaking News: Successful product managers are walking encyclopedias.

Breaking News: Successful product managers are walking encyclopedias.

Next Post
Breaking News: Jo’Burg, Marrakesh, Lagos: Which African cities have the highest internet speeds?

Breaking News: Jo’Burg, Marrakesh, Lagos: Which African cities have the highest internet speeds?

Related Posts
Breaking News: Ifeoma Uddoh on running Shecluded and getting more money into the hands of women

Breaking News: Ifeoma Uddoh on running Shecluded and getting more money into the hands of women

My Life In Tech is putting human faces to some of the innovative startups, investments, and policy formations driving the technology sector across Africa. I discovered Shecluded while I was doing some research for TechCabal’s IWD special edition newsletter. I wanted to feature newer faces and voices. I was looking for African women who were quietly…
Read More