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Safaricom to submit bid for Ethiopia telco license

Safaricom to submit bid for Ethiopia telco licence

East Africa’s giant telecommunication company Safaricom has announced plans to bid for a telecommunications license in Ethiopia.

The bid will be submitted through a consortium alongside four other firms.

“Safaricom PLC is a leading member of a consortium (the Consortium), consisting of Vodacom Group Ltd (South Africa), Vodafone Group PLC (UK), CDC Group PLC (UK) and Sumitomo Corporation (Japan), that intends to make a formal bid (the Bid) for the Ethiopia Telco Licence, and will be submitting its proposal to the ECA in accordance with the RFP,” said Safaricom company secretary Kathryne Maundu.

Ms. Maundu added that “for structuring purposes, the respective consortium members may invest through special-purpose investment vehicles.”

To this end, Safaricom has warned its shareholders to exercise caution while trading the company’s shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).

“Until further announcements regarding the bid process are made, the shareholders of Safaricom PLC and other investors are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the shares of Safaricom PLC, on the Nairobi Securities Exchange,” added Ms. Maundu.

Delayed license

An earlier communication from Ethiopia Communications Authority’s (ECA) said proposals from interested parties were to be submitted by April 26 and successful bidders were to be submitted within a period of 30 days.

It delayed its planned decision on awarding the new licences into 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

ECA is currently in the process of breaking up the longstanding monopoly of Ethio Telecom, the state carrier, with a plan to sell a 40 percent stake of the operator.

Other interested parties

Interest in Ethiopia extends well beyond Safaricom and other companies associated with the Vodafone Group.

Some of Africa’s largest telecom groups, including MTN and Orange, have expressed interest in entering the Ethiopian market now that the government has opened the telecommunication sector to foreign investment.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk. (+254 706 422 774 or lawybaraza@gmail.com)

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