public operator Ethio Telecom launches 5G services in the capital with technical support from Huawei

(Agence Ecofin) – The Ethiopian authorities have decided to open up the national telecom market to competition. While waiting for the launch of the activities of its competitor Safaricom, which holds the second telecoms license in the country, the incumbent operator Ethio Telecom is strengthening its achievements.

Ethiopia’s state-owned telecommunications company Ethio Telecom on Monday (May 9) launched a fifth-generation (5G) mobile phone service in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. For this launch, the incumbent operator provided technical expertise from China’s Huawei and support from the Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA), which granted it temporary approval for the use of 5G spectrum. The service will eventually be extended to other regions of the country in the coming months.

Ethio Telecom described the service, available from just six base stations, as “precommercial“. “In the next 12 months we will have 150 5G sites in Addis Ababa and outside Addis Ababa“said Frehiwot Tamru (photo), general manager of the incumbent operator.

The launch of 5G by Ethio Telecom is part of the actions undertaken by the incumbent operator to strengthen its telecoms infrastructure and the quality of response of its services, in response to the commercial war which is looming with the upcoming launch of commercial activities of a second player in the national telecoms market. Aware of the strength of Safaricom and the potential it can prove in terms of innovation, Ethio Telecom is therefore taking steps to maintain its current position and stay ahead of the game. It should be recalled that Ethio Telecom launched Telebirr, its mobile payment service, last year. The authorities then closed the market to competition for 12 months.

The launch of 5G by Ethio Telecom should enable the public company to bring ultra-high speed to the Ethiopian populations and to retain its customers. “We will continue to land 5G sites in other areas based on feasible commercial demands. However, our full commercialization of the service depends on the readiness and demand of ecosystem players: the readiness of customers to use the service, the availability of 5G-enabled devices and smartphones, the business need and readiness to use the servicesaid Ethio Telecom.

Isaac K. Kassouwi

Read also: 8/23/2021 — Ethio Telecom Announces Multiple Actions to Record $1.5 Billion Annual Revenue

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