EXCLUSIVE Ethiopia to reopen bidding for second telecoms licence, officials say

EXCLUSIVE Ethiopia to reopen bidding for second telecoms licence, officials say

A customer holds a 3G prepaid sim card after buying the service from an Ethio-Telecom shop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 12, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

ADDIS ABABA, Aug 2 (Reuters) – Ethiopia will open bidding for its second telecoms operator licence this month, two senior government officials said on Monday, including the right to operate mobile financial services.

The Horn-of-Africa nation sold only one of two full-service licences on offer in May, citing a lower-than-expected price for the second one, which it now wants to offer again. read more

“We have made some changes that can uplift its value, for instance mobile financial service,” Balcha Reba, director general of the Ethiopian Communication Authority, told Reuters.

The government expects prospective bidders to include firms which had expressed interest in the previous attempt to sell the licence but whose bids were deemed to be insufficient, said Brook Taye, a senior adviser at the ministry of finance.

“We expect to have a strong interest,” he said.

A consortium led by Kenya’s top operator Safaricom (SCOM.NR) secured the first licence. South Africa’s MTN (MTNJ.J) had also bid in the first round but it was not awarded a licence.