The Eritrean government has begun to sell shares in state-owned Eritrea Telecommunication Services Corporation (EriTel) to domestic investors, according to a report by local news website Shabait. Up to 4.5 million ordinary shares in the telecoms operator are available at a subscription price of USD50 per share; individual citizens can buy up to 50,000 shares, while businesses and associations can purchase up to 500,000. The telco, which holds a monopoly on Eritrea’s telecoms market, was established by the government in October 2003, replacing Eritrea Telecommunications Service (ETS) as the national operator, notes TeleGeography’s Database. According to a statement by EriTel’s Tesfaselassie Berhane published last month, the sale of shares in the firm ‘will not only position the corporation to meet its solid objectives over the medium to long term but will also give it the friendly competitive advantage to remain as a leading player in the context of the growing Eritrean economy even after liberalisation of the telecommunications sector.’ In the past eight years, the number of EriTel customers has increased from around 38,000 to over 358,000 fixed and mobile users, the company added.
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