The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) has extended the deadline for international operators interested in applying for a new license to operate within the country.

In June 2023, Ethiopia opened a tender for a second international telecom license. Due to investor concerns, the deadline for submitting RFQs for the new nationwide license has been extended to October 6, 2023.

Until recently, the only provider of telecom services in the East African country was state-owned Ethio Telecom. However, in May 2021, a consortium led by Kenya's Safaricom was granted a telecom license, marking the end of one of the last remaining telecom monopolies in the world.

Safaricom Ethiopia initiated its network rollout in Dire Dawa in August 2022 and expanded to Addis Ababa and ten other cities in October 2022. They formed a consortium with partners, including Vodacom Group, Vodafone Group, Sumitomo Corporation and British International Investment.

While Safaricom led as the first international operator, opportunities for licensees persist in a market of approximately 120 million people. The influx of global investment is expected to revolutionize Ethiopia's telecom sector, although challenges remain due to the country's extensive size and predominantly rural population.

Both Orange and UAE-based Etisalat have rekindled their interest in acquiring a stake in Ethio Telecom. Orange operates in 17 African nations, while Etisalat is established in 12 African markets. Despite the sale plans, Ethio Telecom remains committed to investing in its network and recently announced the launch of 5G services in the country.

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