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Safaricom to know fate of Ethiopia licence May


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Safaricom to know fate of Ethiopia licence May


SCOM

Safaricom headquarters on Nairobi’s Waiyaki Way. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA

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Summary

  • Safaricom will learn if a bid to get a licence to operate in Ethiopia — one of the world’s last major closed telecoms markets — will be successful by May this year.
  • This is after Ethiopia said it will now award two telecoms licences to multinational mobile companies in May this year after pushing forward the deadline in response to requests for extension of time from interested bidders.

Safaricom #ticker:SCOM will learn if a bid to get a licence to operate in Ethiopia — one of the world’s last major closed telecoms markets — will be successful by May this year.

This is after Ethiopia said it will now award two telecoms licences to multinational mobile companies in May this year after pushing forward the deadline in response to requests for extension of time from interested bidders.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) director general Balcha Reba told Business Daily on Tuesday interested bidders have until April 5 this year to submit their bids paving way for the selection process of the lucky firms.

The Ethiopian government will thereafter assess the bids within a one-month window and announce the successful firms by May. “Licenses will be awarded to the winning firms only after the bidding proposals are submitted by bidders and the submitted bids are evaluated, and winners are selected. This process could be concluded in May, 2021,” said Mr Reba in interview.

The request for proposal for the two new licences was launched on November 27 last year.

“After the launch date several prospective bidders bought the bid document, and now they are making preparations and developing their bid proposal,” said Mr Reba. “The bid proposal submission date is on April 5, 2021. The original bid submission date was on March 5, 2021. The bid submission date is extended pursuant to requests received from bidders.”

The Ethiopian government had earlier expected to award the licences by April last year.

Mr Reba said the RFP process is open and competitive adding that bids will now be open to new firms beyond some 12 firms including Safaricom that had earlier expressed interest last November. “Any interested and competent operator from any part of the world can take part in the bid irrespective of taking part in the expression of interest (EoI) phase that was carried out in June 2020,” he said.

“As we have officially announced in the RFP document, and tender notice, the bid process will be competitive.”

The Ethiopian Communications Authority had earlier listed 12 firms including Safaricom last November as among firms that had expressed interest in entering the country’s telecommunications market.

Safaricom which had expressed an interest in a consortium with Vodafone and Vodacom, has signed an agreement to borrow up to $500 million (Sh55.7 billion) from America’s sovereign wealth fund US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to fund the Ethiopia expansion of successful.



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