Concerns voiced by potential telecom investors have led the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) to postpone the issuance of a second telecom operator license.
Nearly a dozen investors responded to the ECA’s call in June 2023 to become the country’s third telecoms operator, but the process faced obstacles as investors expressed worries about the investment environment and rollout targets.
Senior ECA officials disclosed that they would take time to address these concerns, reconsider the licensing process, and make necessary preparations for a favorable market environment.
The timeline for issuing the third telecoms operator license, initially planned for the end of the year, is now uncertain.
A communiqué from the Authority explained that concerns were raised during discussions, particularly regarding conditions for entering the market with other telecom operators.
The ECA is considering measures to mitigate disadvantages for late entrants and may include exceptional terms for new participants.
The Director-General highlighted the advantage of being the first in the market, referencing Safaricom Ethiopia’s success. However, challenges in meeting rollout targets are anticipated for the third operator, given competition with ethio telecom and Safaricom Ethiopia.
The Authority plans to solve the issue by involving third parties for infrastructure leasing among others.