Ethiopia has signed a $700 million agreement with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd to expand the country’s mobile phone infrastructure and introduce high-speed 4G broadband network in the capital Addis Ababa and 3G service throughout the country.
The agreement is half of a $1.6 billion project split between Huawei and ZTE, China’s second-largest telecoms equipment maker. Huawei, the world’s second largest telecom equipment maker, has been involved in developing phone and internet services in Ethiopia for several years.
Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Communications and technology, who welcomed the deal, said that the original target had been to reach 40 million subscribers, but now including the w3G service, there would be 56 million subscribers by 2015.
The deal was signed on Thursday (July 25) by Andualem Admassie, acting chief executive officer of the state-run Ethio Telecom, and Jony Duon, his counterpart at the Chinese firm.
Ethio Telecom is the country’s only mobile operator, but the government last year agreed to allow private companies to provide value-added services. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology told Reuters that it has received applications from 218 firms to provide such services.