Telecom

Ethiopia: Incumbent operator launches 5G pre-commercial phase

Tuesday, 10 May 2022 20:17
Ethiopia: Incumbent operator  launches 5G pre-commercial phase

(Ecofin Agency) - Ethiopian authorities recently opened the national telecom market to competition. At the same time, incumbent operator Ethio Telecom is taking action to improve its market positioning. 

In Ethiopia, incumbent telecom operator Ethio Telecom launched a fifth-generation (5G) cell phone service in Addis Ababa, on Monday, May 9. To launch the service, the operator relied on the technical expertise of China’s Huawei and the support of the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA), which granted it a temporary 5G spectrum usage authorization. In the coming months, the service will eventually be expanded to other parts of the country.  

For Ethio Telecom, the 5G service is currently in its "pre-commercial" stage. 

"In the coming 12 months, we will have 150 5G sites in Addis Ababa and outside Addis Ababa,”  said Frehiwot Tamru (photo), Ethio Telecom CEO. But currently, only six sites are active. 

The launch of the 5G service is part of Ethio Telecom’s efforts to upgrade its telecom infrastructure and improve service quality in preparation for the competition expected in the local market with the upcoming arrival of a second operator, Safaricom. 

Indeed, Safaricom is renowned for its ability to introduce innovative services. Therefore, Ethio Telecom plans to go one step ahead. The 5G service is expected to build customer loyalty by providing access to broadband internet. 

“We shall further roll out 5G sites to more areas based on feasible business demands.

However, our full commercialization of the service is dependent on the readiness and demand from the players in the ecosystem: customers’ readiness to use the service, availability of 5G enabled devices and Smartphones, the need and readiness of enterprises to use the service,” explains Ethio Telecom. 

Last year, the operator launched its mobile money service Telebirr. At the time, authorities closed the market to competition for 12 months.

Isaac K. Kassouwi





 
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