Ethio Telecom, Ethiopia’s state-owned monopoly telecoms provider, will launch a tender in December 2015 or January 2016 aiming to enable it to upgrade infrastructure and expand mobile coverage by about 72%, Reuters reports, citing the company’s chief executive Andualem Admassie Abate. While the project cost is still being assessed, the work will mostly involve upgrading software technology, including the possible addition of 5G technology, with the operator believing it has already constructed enough towers. At least three vendors are expected to bid to work on the new expansion plan – China’s Huawei and ZTE, and Sweden’s Ericsson – all of which have already worked with Ethio Telecom. The tender will, however, also be open to any interested parties.
Commenting on the project, Abate was cited as saying: ‘Our plan is to have a mobile subscriber base of around 103 million … We expect [the expansion projects] to be done in less than five years.’ In addition, the project is expected to boost fixed line subscriber numbers to ten million.