The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has announced that it is extending the deadlines for the submission of bids for the acquisition of the two telecom licenses that the country plans on giving to interested companies.

According to the ECA, the extension comes after requests from interested parties for more time to submit comprehensive bids.

Experts consider the Ethiopian market one of the most valuable in Africa with more than 100 million people. Given the size of the market and efforts to liberalize Ethiopia’s economy, several prominent companies have already expressed interest. 

The new deadline for the submission of bids is April 5th, a one-month extension on the previous deadline. The winners of the bid will acquire full rights to operate telecom services but are barred from engaging in any financial services, a requirement that has made some companies, like Safaricom, hesitant.

Companies that are awarded the licenses are also expected to construct their own infrastructure, including cell towers.

So far prominent companies that have shown interest include the Vodafone Group (UK), MTN (South Africa), Etisalat (UAE, Orange SA (France), and Sharing Mobile Group (China).

Financial Post, Xinhuanet

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