Orange And Other Leading Telcos Consider Ethiopia Entry

Orange has confirmed that it is considering a bid for a stake in Ethiopia’s state-owned phone monopoly as the country prepares to welcome foreign telecoms investors for the first time.

The Deputy CEO of the French carrier, Ramon Fernandez, said that Orange is also open to competing with Ethio Telecom by participating in an auction for a new private mobile phone licence. Both options will likely be made available next year.

Fernandez said that the Ethiopian government had been working with advisers on how to open up the country’s telecoms market to foreign investors.
This development has attracted massive interest from the biggest mobile operators in Africa, including the Vodacom Group, MTN Group and Paris-based Orange.

Orange’s Africa CEO, Alioune Ndiaye, arrived in Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa last week to meet other interested bidders and local officials, Fernandez said.

In April last year, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced his plans to privatise large areas of the economy shortly after gaining power in Africa’s second most populous country. The telecoms sector is seen as one of the most attractive industries that could be opened up, due to the country’s population of 100 million people, which increases the potential for data services and mobile money growth.

Fernandez said that Orange is ready to acquire its slice of the Ethiopian market and that the French telecoms operator is just waiting for the next steps to be carried out by the Ethiopian government.

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