Ethiopia moved closer to liberalising one of the world’s final frontiers for telecommunications by publishing the final draft of directives that mention spectrum permits will be valid for 15 years.
The Ethiopian Communications Authority will hold consultations on the proposed rules for 14 days ending 11 May, the agency said in a statement on its website. It will review and “consider the comments in adopting the directives” on issues including licensing, consumer rights and dispute resolution.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration wants to offer two new licences and sell part of the state-controlled monopoly, Ethio Telecom, to help liberalise the economy and attract more foreign capital. Vodacom Group, MTN Group, Orange and Helios Towers have expressed interest in investing in Africa’s second most populous nation of more than 100 million people.
The issuance of licences for operations including mobile network services will be by auction, beauty contest or a hybrid. The communications regulator would need to approve a proposed transfer of stake to an investor already holding, or will get from the deal, 10% shareholding or more in a business, according to the statement.
Ethiopia’s initial plans to issue licences by March 2020 were delayed by elections, which the government later postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. — Reported by Samuel Gebre, (c) 2020 Bloomberg LP