According to the UN International Telecommunication Union’s ICT Development Index (IDI), Ethiopia’s service is ranked 170th out of 176 countries. The ranking, however, was made in 2017, and some posit that given the scant data available about Ethiopia’s telecom coverage, the full picture may have been missed. An IDI proposal outlines this factor and several others that might require revision. See the document attached for the full proposal set forth by the IDI for a new ranking system that addresses challenges like data availability, proper research, and identifying problem areas.

The proposal show that when it comes to Ethiopia data for only 3 out of 8 categories is sufficiently available. Of course, while this in itself points to an abysmal data gathering and integrated system at the very least, considering ongoing reforms in the telecom industry since the new administration took over in 2018, an updated analysis may be in order.

An even more immediate incentive for Ethiopia to seek an updated ranking is the current bid Ethio Telecom is holding for the granting of two telecom licenses and the sale of Ethio Telecom stakes to foreign telecom companies. An updated ranking would give the Ethiopian government better cause to relinquish its tight grip on the telecom industry that many say is stifling the potential of the industry while diverging precious resources from endeavours that would actually better serve communities.

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