Ethiopia moved closer to liberalizing one of the world’s final frontiers for telecommunications by publishing the final draft of directives that mention spectrum permits will be valid for 15 years.
The Ethiopian Communications Authority will hold consultations on the proposed rules for 14 days ending May 11, the agency said in a statement on its website. It will review and “consider the comments in adopting the directives” on issues including licensing, consumer rights and dispute resolution.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration wants to offer two new licenses and sell part of the state-controlled monopoly, Ethio Telecom, to help liberalize the economy and attract more foreign capital. Vodacom Group Ltd., MTN Group Ltd., Orange SA and Helios Towers have expressed interest in investing in Africa’s second-most populous nation of more than 100 million people.
The issuance of licenses for operations including mobile-network services will be by auction, beauty contest or a hybrid. The communications regulator would need to approve a proposed transfer of stake to an investor already holding, or will get from the deal, 10% shareholding or more in a business, according to the statement.
Ethiopia’s initial plans to issue licenses by March 2020 were delayed by elections, which the government later postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.