France Telecom has reportedly been selected to manage Ethiopia’s telecom operator ETC, overcoming rival offers posted by South Africa’s MTN Group and India’s BSNL, this according to a report from online news service Afrik.com.
Although not officially confirmed, a formal statement is expected when negotiations between the two parties conclude the deal in about three months time, said the report. A source close to the deal confirmed to India’s Economic Times that MTN Group and BSNL were definitely out of the race.
The last telecom monopoly in Africa, ETC has invested massively in infrastructure, including an 80 gigabyte fibre network to connect Ethiopia to the rest of the world via the Port of Sudan fibre landing station, currently under deployment.
The International Monetary Fund urged the country to liberalize the telecoms sector and enable VoIP services, a request denied by the Ethiopian government. So far, VoIP services in the country are still blocked.
Ethiopia has one of the lowest mobile penetration rates in the world, accounting for less than 3% from a total population of 85 million.