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Ethiopia sets new date for telecoms licences bids

By Michael Malakata, ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Johannesburg, 13 Apr 2021

The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has agreed to an extension on the deadline for the submission of bids for two available telecommunications operator licences.

The deadline has now been shifted from 5 March 2021 to 26 April 2021, as Ethiopia opens up its telecommunications industry to private investment.

The ECA says it has received several requests from bidders for more time to prepare documents.

In a statement, the ECA explains: “Due to requests by bidders to have more time to finalise their offer in light of the COVID-19 market environment, ECA determined their requests to be appropriate and the deadline for the submission of bids for the two new telecom operator licences is extended to April 26, 2021 at 10:00 am East African Time.”

ECA director-general, Balcha Reba, was quoted by the local Capital newspaper as saying, “Bidders officially requested to have additional time to finalise their bid proposals.

“After putting their proposals together, bidding companies need time to discuss with their board of directors, shareholders and financial partners to get final approval on their investment and offer. Considering this, ECA in consultation with concerned entities determined the request to be valid and decided to extend (submission of bids).”

Eleven bidders are competing for the licences, including MTN, Telkom SA, Etisalat, Saudi Telecom Company, Orange, Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom, as well as Liquid Intelligent Technologies, among others.

The government is expected to raise $1 billion in revenue from the two 15-year licences.

Ethiopia has a population of over 100 million people, making it Africa’s second largest nation after Nigeria and an appropriate market for mobile and fixed-line services.