MTN Group has reportedly made a bid for an Ethiopian telecommunications licence alongside Vodacom Group and Safaricom. Finance ministry adviser, Brook Taye says that the consortium of bids is led by Safaricom.
“We always wanted quality providers and this is what we have received,” adds Taye. “These are two African giants — the Safaricom-led consortium and MTN — either one or two of the operators will get a licence in Ethiopia.”
Kenya’s geographical proximity to Ethiopia is expected to be one reason why Safaricom leads the consortium.
“I think it will be a very good exposure to Safaricom from the perspective of geographical closeness on the one perspective, but also giving Safaricom additional exposure to more growth areas,” says Vodacom’s chief executive, Shameel Joosub.
In an interview with Daily Nation, Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom, states that he would continue to pursue ways to introduce the company’s data, M-PESA and geographical expansion to Ethiopia as part of his strategy to take the Africa-wide telecom to the next level of growth.
Taye revealed that Ethiopia will take a few days to review the technical offer and then open the financial bids. The government is looking to award two full-service telecoms licences as part of its plan to attract more foreign investment to its economy.
Nokia and Safaricom have joined forces to launch the first 5G commercial services in East Africa. According to the companies, Nokia’s 5G Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) technology and 5G FastMile gateways will enable ultra-fast Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services to Safaricom’s subscribers across Kisumu and the Western Province of Kenya.
5G technology is expected to enable new applications in areas such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence for Safaricom subscribers. It will also benefit enterprises across important energy, healthcare, education, transport and entertainment applications.
“We are proud to be the first operator in East Africa to launch 5G services, bringing the benefits of 5G technology to our customers. 5G capabilities will change a lot of things in unimaginable ways for people and enterprises, playing a key role in fulfilling our vision to transform lives,” says Ndegwa.
“Our long-term partner Nokia’s technologies and services expertise helped us achieve this milestone in our journey to provide world-class broadband services to our customers.”