MTN Group doesn’t want to play second fiddle to other operators in Ethiopia, prompting its decision not to bid when the East African country tenders a second telecommunications licence soon.
A first licence was awarded in May to a Safaricom-led consortium with backing from Vodacom Group and Vodafone Group. MTN participated in that round, but its bid was rejected. The Safaricom consortium is expected to begin offering services early in 2022.
MTN, which is understood to have tendered US$600-million in the first round of bidding (versus Safaricom’s $850-million), has decided not to bid again, even though Ethiopian authorities are now dangling the prospect of a lucrative financial services licence to sweeten the opportunity.
MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita told TechCentral that the board “applied its mind”, taking various risk criteria into account, and ultimately decided not to proceed with a bid. He thanked the authorities for the process, even though MTN wasn’t successful, and said the group “will not be participating in the liberalisation process”.
He said the main reason for walking away is that it’s more difficult to compete as a third or four licensee in any market. With the Safaricom consortium already licensed and preparing for launch, and with incumbent Ethiopia Telecom already active in the market, the board ultimately decided not to participate in the second round. – © 2021 NewsCentral Media