Magazine article African Business

Huge Telecomes Roll-Out on the Way: Ethiopia Is One of the Last Few Countries in the World to Retain State Monopoly over the Telecoms Sector. So Far, This Nation of 80m People Has Poor and Restricted Mobile Coverage. However, as Kaleyesus Bekele Reports from Addis Ababa, a Billion-Dollar Project Is Being Rolled out to Expand and Upgrade Services

Magazine article African Business

Huge Telecomes Roll-Out on the Way: Ethiopia Is One of the Last Few Countries in the World to Retain State Monopoly over the Telecoms Sector. So Far, This Nation of 80m People Has Poor and Restricted Mobile Coverage. However, as Kaleyesus Bekele Reports from Addis Ababa, a Billion-Dollar Project Is Being Rolled out to Expand and Upgrade Services

Article excerpt

The Ethiopian government has embarked on a massive telecom infrastructure development project worth $1.6bn. The Ethiopian state telecom monopoly, Ethio Telecom, announced that the two-year expansion project is part of the Ethiopian development blueprint, Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), aimed at elevating the country to middle-income level. The new project is designed to boost the country's mobile subscribers to the 5om mark from the existing 22M.

After year-long negotiations, Ethio Telecom awarded the si.6bn expansion project to two Chinese telecom giants--Huawei and ZTE--in August.

Each company will receive $800m worth of the contract. The two companies have been competing neck and neck to win the lucrative contract for the past 12 months. The main objectives of the project are to increase telecom service access and coverage across the nation as well as to upgrade the existing network to new technologies.

According to Ethio Telecom, the expansion project would enable it to increase the mobile service capacity to 5om subscribers and to provide Addis Ababa city with fourth-generation (4G) service as well enable the 3G service across the country. Through this project, Ethio Telecom will increase its overall network coverage to 85% across the country.

The contractors are expected to thoroughly upgrade the system and provide all the support services and infrastructure needed. In addition to providing greater mobile service access, the project will incorporate core networks, power supply and network backhaul, increase transmission and fibre-optics capacity and employ the latest technology.

The project will also focus on the delivery and management of internet services including customer billing and customer relations management systems, next generation call centres, security operation centres, telecom fraud management, video surveillance, operation support centres and multi-value-added services. …

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