Ethiopia has licensed a consortium comprising Vodafone Group, Vodacom and Safaricom to become the country’s first private mobile operator, although an offer led by MTN Group to become a second new entrant was rejected.
In a statement concluding the long process of opening up the country’s telecommunications market, the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) and the Ministry of Finance confirmed that the consortium Global Partnership for Ethiopia had won its bid.
Mobileworldlive said the Global Partnership for Ethiopia includes Vodafone and its subsidiaries alongside financial partners CDC Group, Sumitomo Corporation and the US Development Finance Corporation.
As part of its offer, the consortium has pledged to spend $ 8 billion on the operation over the next 10 years. ECA Director General Balcha Reba said the successful bidder was “committed to creating new jobs, supporting the economy by introducing new efficient services”.
The new entrant was one of two offers submitted in the final stage of the sales process last month after the first 12 expressions of interest were made.
Although Ethiopia planned to make two licenses available to new entrants, an offer from MTN and its financial partner Silk Road Fund was rejected.
In the statement, authorities said the awarding of a winner ended the process, but the Financial Times said the second license would be re-tendered.
While not officially disclosed by authorities in their statement, FT said the winning bid was $ 850 million, with MTN’s failed $ 600 million bid being considered too low.