Safaricom has been shortlisted in the final list of firms that will bid for one of the two telecom license expected to be offered in Ethiopia this year.
A total of 12 firms had applied for the Ethiopia telecoms license last year, according to the regulator, as the country planned to open up its nascent telecom industry.
The six shortlisted firms are expected to submit their bids by April 5, 2021.
“There are about five to six consortia who are qualified to bid. Bids are due to be submitted in April,” said Michael Joseph, Safaricom chairman, in an interview. “We are working towards the final submission around March/April.”
Safaricom’s bid included a consortium of firms including Vodafone Group Plc and Vodacom Group Limited, but the company maintained a majority stake of 51 per cent.
Other firms that applied for the advertised Ethiopia telco license include Etisalat, Axian, MTN, Orange, Liquid Telecom, Snail Mobile, Kandu Global Communications, Saudi Telecom Company Telkom SA, among others.
The Safaricom consortium will borrow a $500 million (Ksh 55.7 billion) loan from the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to finance the expansion. However, Ethiopia expansion is expected to surpass $1 billion (Ksh 111 billion).