Telecom Regulator, Consortium Discuss Progress as Safaricom Ethiopia Prepares to Launch Services

ADDIS ABABA – Director-General of Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA), Balcha Reba has held discussion with leadership amd members of the Global Partnership for Ethiopia Consortium on Wednesday.

Last May, the government of Ethiopia awarded a licence to operate telecom services in Ethiopia to the Consortium comprising Safaricom Plc, Vodacom Group, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation and CDC Group.

The company, registered here as Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia, is currently preparing to launch commercial services in April 2022, and become the second telecome services provider after state-owned Ethio Telecom.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Chief Technology Officer at Vodacom Group Dejan Kastelic thanked head of telecommunications regulatory authority Balcha, and his team for the continued support and positive interaction.



“Ethiopia is an exciting market, and Vodacom is pleased to share best practices gleaned from other markets,” said Kastelic.

“Vodacom is also very focused on digital inclusion and financial services and hopes to enhance the offering in this market,” the CTO added.

Director-General Balcha noted that the Authority is helping Safaricom Ethiopia with equipment importation, facilitating stakeholder meetings, to enable the new entrant provide “excellent services to all Ethiopians”.

At the meeting , Safaricom Ethiopia said its Chief External Affairs and Regulatory, Mathew Harrison-Harvey reiterated “our commitment to rolling out the network as fast as possible, in line with the license obligations and directives”.

He also requested ECA’s continued support on the customs and importation process, the telecom company said.



The discussion ended with updates of progress and upcoming deliverables, according to Safaricom Ethiopia.

The company paid $850 million and promised to invest another 8.5 billion in the next ten years to acquire the license from ECA.

Apart from its ongoing recruitment drive, the company is reportedly in contact with Telecom to use its existing infrastructures and launch services.

In the future, Safaricom Ethiopia plans to develop its own after signing an infrastructure development agreement with Nokia last month. The operator is also in talk with Huawei Technologies, the Chinese multinational technology corporation, to secure a similar deal.

 

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