The Ethiopian Communications Authority wishes to clarify some issues that have been raised in the local media with respect to the liberalization and privatization processes underway in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. While the Authority appreciates this interest by the media, it has observed a confusion with regards to these processes that has unfortunately led to speculative write-ups that misstate facts and could potentially mislead readers, investors, and sector stakeholders.

To put it as succinctly as possible, liberalization of the telecommunications sector essentially entails introducing competition in the sector by allowing new telecom business operators to invest in Ethiopia within government-defined policies, laws, and regulations. Privatization, on the other hand, is the process of partially privatizing the incumbent telecom operator which is managed by Ministry of Finance, Ethio Telecom, and the Ethiopian Public Enterprises Holdings Agency.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority is an independent regulatory body established by the Communications Service Proclamation No. 1148/2019 (“the Proclamation”) to, among other things, grant licenses to new operators, in line with global industry standards, manage spectrum, monitor Quality of Service, as well as consumer protection. The Authority does not exercise control over, nor does it have direct responsibility with regards to the privatization process. The Authority’s primary responsibility with regards to the telecom reform agenda is the liberalization process.

The Authority, once again, reiterates its gratitude to the public and all stakeholders for the interest they have shown in the telecom reform process underway. Currently the Authority is finalizing its responses and recommendations on the numerous questions and suggestions that have been raised by stakeholders with regards to the planned regulatory framework during the public consultation period. The Authority will also provide a timeline for the issuance of two new telecom operators shortly.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority