ECA publishes RFP for two new full-service telecommunications licenses

Dec. 2, 2020

The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) published today an official Request For Proposals (RFP) inviting highly capable and interested telecommunications operators to take part in a sealed bidding process and submit their technical and financial offers for two new full-service telecommunications licenses in Ethiopia

A major development in the liberalization of Ethiopia’s telecoms market, the two licenses are due to be issued in March/April 2021, in addition to the existing license held by Ethio Telecom.   

The ECA is managing the license issuance process and has already received 11 complete Expressions of Interest from nine telecoms operators and two non-telecom operators that are interested in taking part in the bidding for the two new licenses. The license issuance is part of the Government’s Economic Reform Agenda to introduce competition into the sector for the first time, with the goal to offer reliable and accessible telecommunications services to the Ethiopian people and unlock the transformational power of the digital economy to drive job creation and economic growth. The issuance of these two new licenses will be taking place simultaneously, in addition to the partial privatization of Ethio Telecom, which is a separate process.  At the end of the licensing process, there will be three operators with licenses to deliver high-quality telecommunications services in Ethiopia: Ethio Telecom and two new license holders.

Eng. Balcha Reba, Director General of the ECA said, “This is a significant step forward in the liberalization process and signals that Ethiopia is open for international and regional investment. By opening up Ethiopia’s telecommunications sector to the private sector and encouraging healthy competition, we will have best-in-class technology and more reliable services, providing better access to communications and digital services for the Ethiopian people. This improved connectivity will enable us to maximize the vast opportunities presented by the digital economy to benefit all sectors and create employment.”

Bidders have been given 90 calendar days to respond to the RFP, which includes Investment Considerations, Tender Regulations, and Licenses to be awarded. The final selection will be announced following a thorough assessment of the proposals, and two new telecommunications licenses will be granted to the winning applicants, in accordance with the Communications Services Proclamation of Ethiopia.  


H.E. Ato Ahmed Shide, Minister, Ministry of Finance, and Mr. Ousmane Dione, Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Eritrea, the World Bank, signed the agreements on behalf of the Ethiopian Government and the World Bank respectively.