Assessing MTN and Safaricom’s Chances as Ethiopia Shortlists 6 Operators for Two Telco Licences

Assessing MTN and Safaricom’s Chances as Ethiopia Shortlists 6 Operators for Two Telco Licences

Six telecom companies have been shortlisted to compete for two full service Ethiopian telecom licences set to be granted this year.

BusinessDaily reports that the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has whittled down the list from a group of 12 operators which had submitted bids to venture into the country’s telecommunications market.

Safaricom chairman, Michael Joseph disclosed in an interview that up to six companies have been passed as qualified for the final stage of Ethiopia’s telecom privatisation process. Michael Joseph, Safaricom Chairman There are about five to six consortia who are qualified to bid. Bids are due to be submitted in April. Michael Joseph, Safaricom Chairman “We are working towards the final submission around March/April,” he added.

Kenya’s Safaricom is one of the six shortlisted telecom operators, with MTN, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company reportedly listed among the other five.

Telcos will now be required to submit their technical and financial bids by April 5, a one-month extension from an initial deadline of March 5.

Recall that the ECA had invited companies to submit their bids to take part in the privatisation process. The ECA had received 12 bids from operators including MTN, Safaricom, Orange, Etisalat, Telkom SA, Axian, Saudi Telecom Company, Liquid Telecom, Snail Mobile, Kandu Global Telecommunications and Electromecha International Projects. The ECA had designated one of the bids as incomplete, meaning that only 11 proposals were considered for the next stage of the licence issuance process.

Looking at some of the shortlisted operators, we examine their chances of landing the two licences up for sale in Africa’s biggest untapped telecom market. MTN

With over 260 million subscribers across Africa, MTN is easily the biggest telecom operator on the continent. The telco giant is present in up to 21 African countries including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. Together with Vodacom, MTN has led the way in the commercial deployment of 5G in Africa. MTN’s market appeal and financial strength place it in a vantage position compared to other mobile network operators in the race to win an ECA licence.

Forbes estimates the MTN Group to possess a market valuation of about $5 billion, a proof of the group’s massive budget.

Over 70 million Ethiopians remain unconnected to any network, and this presents a potentially huge market for MTN to leverage. Currently catering to over 35 million customers across Africa, MTN’s mobile money service MoMo is a key revenue stream for the group.

However, mobile money […]

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