Consumer Affairs

Rights and Obligations

All Consumers shall have the right to access basic Telecommunications Services that includes inbound and outbound dialing capabilities for voice, data and inbound and outbound texting services at reasonable prices and minimum service requirements as determined in the Authority’s Quality of Service Directive. A Licensee shall have the obligation to ensure that services are made available to all Persons by adopting the Authority’s annual objectives developed for universal access to Telecommunications Services in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. A Licensee shall have the obligation to service continuity and where any interruption is envisaged, due notice should be provided to Consumers.

In providing access to Telecommunications Services, a Licensee shall have the obligation to ensure no discrimination against all Consumers in any form of denial of access to services or provisions.

A Licensee shall provide to Consumers who inquire about services free of charge, in electronic format, full pre-contractual information about their services in language that is clear, understandable, helpful, accurate, and current, in the Amharic, English, and where requested, in one of the official regional working languages in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (“Ethiopia”). Such information shall be made available in print format upon request.

The pre-contractual as well as service contractual information provided by a Licensee to Consumers must include, at a minimum, the information provided below:

A) A list and description of the equipment and services it offers, including the rates, terms, and conditions for those equipment and services.

B) Service quality levels offered, the waiting time for initial connection and where applicable, service areas and coverage maps.

C) For subscription services, a sample contract for the services provided, and specific and clear information regarding contract cancellation, and where contracted quality service levels are not met, whether refunds or other arrangements are offered.

D) Where a Licensee offers Consumers equipment in connection with the service, information with regards to contractual warranties relating to those equipment (if any) as well as specific information regarding maintenance services for those equipment including sample contracts for those equipment.

E) The commencement and termination dates of contracts, and where applicable, renewal of contracts as well as a description of every component service or product included with the service.

F) Services that are bundled together such as services from third parties.

G) Disconnection and reconnection policies of all services in the contract and any applicable fees.

H) Terms and conditions that may apply to a refund of any deposits to the Consumers.

I) The Licensee’s Complaint handling process and methods for resolving disputes for both post-paid and pre-paid services.

J) A Licensee shall provide contracts in electronic (digital) or paper format in Amharic, English and upon request, in one of the official regional working languages in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

K) The information required in contracts shall be delivered to Consumers by email, text message or other preferences as agreed to by the Consumer.

L) A Licensee shall provide pricing and rate information to the Consumer in clear, understandable, and accurate language on a website that is dedicated to pricing and in writing at service centers or on demand text service using short code.

M) A Licensee shall provide to Consumers information as to whether service charges or rates are subject to periodic changes and how the Consumers will be informed of such changes.

N) All pricing and rate information shall be provided to Consumers in Amharic, English and upon request, in one of the official regional working languages in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

O) A Consumer shall not be billed for a service not used or not subscribed for.

P) A Licensee shall present to the Consumer billing statements that are accurate, timely, and verifiable for post-paid accounts.

Q) Information about the bill shall be free from fine-print clauses and exceptions that may confuse Consumers.

R) Upon request of a Consumer for a detailed billing statement, a Licensee shall provide a specific description of the charges for which the Consumer is billed comprising the following:

i. A list of all calls made and services used, such as Value Added Services (VAS) made and/or used by the Consumer, and which includes number called, the date of the call, the start time, the duration and the price of the call indicating whether pricing is per minute, per second, per usage, or per capacity.

ii. A list of all calls made and services used, such as Value Added Services (VAS) made and/or used by the Consumer, and which includes number called, the date of the call, the start time, the duration and the price of the call indicating whether pricing is per minute, per second, per usage, or per capacity.

iii. A list of data services used, including the date and time the session was initiated, the volume consumed in Mega Byte (MB), the duration of the session, the end date and time of the sessions and the price per MB.

S) A Licensee shall be required to establish a method that can be used by pre-paid service Consumers to request and obtain billing information.

T) A Licensee shall offer online itemized bill display, bill downloads and electronic bill payment, provided that such services can only be accessed in a secure manner so as to protect the content from unauthorized access from persons other than the account holder.

U) Billing records shall be kept by a Licensee for no less than twelve (12) months.

V) A Licensee’s contact information for billing inquiries shall be made known to the Consumer.

W) Methods on how to lodge a Complaint with a Licensee’s top management if a dispute relating to a bill is not resolved after an initial attempt shall be clearly indicated to the Consumer.

While exercising their rights Consumers are expected to have the following obligations:

A) Shall be bound by a Licensee’s terms and conditions of service on return of a signed service agreement, or on clearly accepting the service terms and conditions by any form of communication.

B) Shall be deemed to accept a Licensee’s service terms and conditions on any commencement of use of the service that follows the adequate communication by the Licensee of its service terms.

C) Shall grant the Licensee or its authorized representatives, without charge, access to premises, equipment or facilities as reasonably required for any provisioning or maintenance of the services, equipment or facilities.

D) Shall not use any equipment or related facilities provided by a Licensee for reasons other than those related to normal service conditions and shall not do anything that interferes with the functioning of such equipment or facilities, without prior written authorization from the Licensee.

E) Modification or attachment of any unauthorized device to the Licensee’s equipment or facilities is prohibited without prior written authorization from the Licensee.

F) Shall not re-sell any service provided by a Licensee except as permitted by the service agreement of the Licensee and subject to any applicable licensing or authorization by the Authority pursuant to the Proclamation and Telecommunications Licensing Directive No. 792/2021.

G) Shall not misuse or abuse public Telecommunications Services, including by:

i. Dishonestly obtaining Telecommunications Services;

ii. Possessing or supplying equipment that may be used to obtain Telecommunications Services dishonestly or fraudulently; and,

iii. Using Telecommunications Services to send messages that are obscene, threatening or otherwise contrary to applicable laws or regulations of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

H) No equipment or device that interferes in any way with the normal operation of a Telecommunications Service, including any equipment or device that intercepts or assists in intercepting or receiving any service offered by the Licensee that requires special authorization shall be installed by any consumer. 

Complaint Handling

Consumers shall have the right to submit Complaints about the service(s) a Licensee provides them, including, but not limited to, quality of service, delay in service provision, delay in service restoration, billing, and privacy violations.

A Consumer’s Complaint shall not be reviewed by the Authority unless the Consumer has first filed a formal Complaint with the relevant Licensee and obtained a decision from the Licensee. However, a Consumer may file a Complaint with the Authority within thirty (30) working days from date of the decision of the Licensee, where the Consumer is not satisfied by the Licensee’s decision, or the Licensee has failed to consider the Complaint within the prescribed ten (10) working day Complaint resolution period.

The process by which the Authority adjudicates Complaints and the remedies it may impose shall be pursuant to the Authority’s Dispute Resolution Directive No. 796/2021.

Consumers can lodge their complaints with ECA in accordance with the following procedures:

  • The full name, address and telephone number of the complainant.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the Service provider/Operator against whom the complaint is made.
  • A statement of the nature of complaint together with copies of any document in support or in relation to the complaint.
  • The nature of dissatisfaction or the alleged harm that the complainant has suffered as a result of the alleged action.
  • The remedy or relief sought including any amount claimed.
  • Any other relevant information.

Dispute Resolution

  1. The Authority shall have the power to resolve any disputes that may arise between the following entities:
    • Between consumers and Licensees; and,
    • Between Licensees.
  2. The Authority may, pursuant to a Complaint filed by consumers, initiate proceedings against a Licensee on any action or relief requested by any party within the scope of the Authority’s power that may, in the Authority’s judgment, best serve the purposes of the Proclamation.
  3. The Authority’s Decision may grant or deny in whole or in part, any action or relief requested by any party; or may fashion such other remedy within the scope of the Authority’s power that may, in the Authority’s judgment, best serve the purposes of the Proclamation.
  4. The Authority’s Decision may be reviewed pursuant to the provisions in Article 38 of the Proclamation.
  5. Licensees shall endeavor to resolve their dispute amicably prior to filling a Request for Dispute Resolution before the Authority.
  6. The party who desires the resolution of a Dispute by the Authority, referred to as the “Claimant” may initiate proceedings by:
    • Filing its claim for resolution with the Authority in written or electronic submission using forms available on the Authority’s website; and,
    • Serving the other party to the Dispute, referred to as the “Respondent,” with a copy of the claim.
  7. In a Dispute between Licensees the Claimant shall file a Request for Dispute Resolution within thirty (30) working days from the occurrence of the Dispute unless the parties have initiated an alternative dispute resolution process.
  8. The Claimant’s claim shall contain:
    • The names, addresses and telephone numbers of the parties to the Dispute;
    • A statement of the nature of the Dispute;
    • The remedy or relief sought, including any amount claimed;
    • The Power of the Authority to entertain the Dispute;
    • Any supporting evidence; and,
    • Any other relevant information.
  9. The Authority shall, within five (5) working days of receipt of the claim, notify both Claimant and Respondent of receipt of the claim.
  10. In a Dispute involving multiple parties, the Claimant shall serve copies of all documents submitted to the Authority to all the other parties on or before the date of submission of the documents to the Authority.
  11. A party to a Dispute shall not rely on any grounds other than grounds stated in the claim or adduce additional facts or documents that were not referred to in the statement of claim or copies of the documents that were not annexed to the claim.
    • The Authority shall decline to accept a Request for Dispute Resolution where:
    • The Request for Dispute Resolution raises or involves issues that are not within the competence of the Authority or is otherwise not contemplated for resolution by the Authority in the Proclamation;
    • The Request for Dispute Resolution arises from a Dispute with a Licensee is not made within thirty (30) working days of a “Notification of Resolution” provided by a Licensee as provided for in the Consumer Rights and Protection Directive;
    • The Complaint in the Request for Dispute Resolution is the subject of ongoing legal proceedings before a court of law in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia unless a reviewing court has requested the Authority to review the matter;
    • The Request for Dispute Resolution relates to the content of a Communications Service, including, but not limited to, the editorial, literary, artistic, political, religious or other content expressed or transmitted through a Licensee’s Communications system;
  12. The Request for Dispute Resolution is incomplete or is not presented in accordance with the procedural requirements of this Directive;
  13. The Authority shall, before declining to accept the claim, give the Claimant an opportunity to be heard.
  14. The Authority shall not decline to resolve for the claim for the reason of incompleteness without giving an opportunity to the person filing the claim to rectify the irregularities within ten (10) working days.
  15. Where the Authority has declined to resolve a Dispute, it shall notify the parties to the Dispute, in writing, stating the reasons for declining the claim.