Kenya’s leading telecommunication company Safaricom has been officially awarded a licence to become the first foreign entity to provide such services in Ethiopia.
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya flew to the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Tuesday accompanied by a high powered delegation for the formal award of a telecom operating licence to a consortium led by Safaricom.
According to handlers of Kenyan Presidency, Uhuru is also holding bilateral discussions with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
According to details, an international consortium led by Safaricom, and comprising of Vodafone and Vodacom, UK’s CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation, won and US$850M licence bid to operate in Ethiopia, defeating MTN of Mauritius who bid US$600M. Safaricom has offered to invest US$8B in Ethiopia over the coming ten years.
The Global Partnership for Ethiopia, as the consortium is known, was declared winner on May 22 and Safaricom paid the licence fee last Wednesday, earning permission to provide services across the country.
There had been 12 prequalified firms in the bid when it was opened last November.
The licence will be valid for 15 years with a possible renewal at a fee. Officials say formal roll-out of services should be expected early in 2022. The services will include voice, text, and data, and mobile payments.