Safaricom confirms Ethiopia move
(mobileworldlive)—Safaricom formally entered the race to grasp one of two mobile licences set to be issued by Ethiopian authorities, teaming with two undisclosed partners for the bid, business newspaper The Standard reported.
In an interview with the publication, Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa confirmed the long-speculated news the company would attempt to enter Ethiopia when the market opened to outside investors for the first time.
Ndegwa said an expression of interest had been filed with authorities. A decision is expected to be made on licensees in 2021, a year later than planned due to delays related to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The executive did not reveal the identity of Safaricom’s partners in the move, though parent company Vodacom has regularly been speculated as a likely backer.
During April, the Ethiopia Communications Authority consulted on rules for new entrants as it progressed with a plan to break the monopoly of state-owned Ethio Telecom.
In addition to issuing two new licences to international telecommunications companies, it also has provisional plans to offer stakes in Ethio Telecom to outside investors.
Aside from Safaricom and other Vodafone Group affiliates, several other major players with large footprints in Africa have been linked with a bid including MTN Group and Orange.