Safaricom and partners plan Ethiopia ops in 2022

A consortium led by Kenyan telecoms operator Safaricom aims to start operations in Ethiopia next, year, it said on Monday (May 24).

That's after it won a license to operate in one of the world's last closed off telecommunications markets.

The consortium, which also includes South Africa's Vodacom and the UK's Vodafone, bid $850 million, Ethiopian government officials said on Saturday (May 22).

On Monday the consortium would aim to start providing telecommunication services from 2022.

Shares in Safaricom surged almost 7% on the news.

In addition to the license fee, the consortium plans to invest $8.5 billion in infrastructure.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed described that as the "single largest foreign direct investment into Ethiopia to date".

Ethiopia's Communications Agency said bidding would soon open for a second license.

The Ethiopian government is also preparing to sell a 45% stake in state-run mobile operator, Ethio Telecom.

Africa's second most populous country hopes that opening up the telecoms market will create millions of online job opportunities.

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