A report emerged on Wednesday that Kenya’s largest telco Safaricom had made it to the shortlist of six firms selected to bid for one of two telco licenses in Ethiopia that’ll be offered this year. But the Ethiopia Communication Authority(ECA) has denied these claims.
“We wish to clarify that to date no proposals have been received for the two new telecom licenses, and no prospective bidder has been shortlisted, prequalified, nor excluded from participating in the bid process. The RFP[Request for Proposals] process is ongoing,” the ECA said.
The authority said the RRP process, launched on 27 November 2020, is still underway, and the proposal submission deadline is April 5, 2021.
Safaricom’s Chairman Michael Joseph previously said in an interview that the Safaricom consortium, which is made up of Vodacom, Vodafone, among other investors, had been shortlisted to bid for one of the two licenses. Adding that they’re preparing to submit a final bid in March or April.
Ethiopia announced plans to open up its telecoms sector last year, which state-owned Ethio Telecom had monopolized. In addition to offering licenses to foreign players, the government will also sell a 45 percent stake in state monopoly Ethio Telecom.
The Safaricom consortium will be contending for the two telco licenses in conjunction with 12 other firms. So far, Etisalat, Axian, MTN, Orange, Liquid Telecom, Snail Mobile, Kandu Global Communications, Saudi Telecom Company Telkom SA, had expressed interest in Ethiopia entry, among others.
Ethiopia’s telco market is huge with its 100 million-plus citizens — the second largest market after Nigeria.