A month after Ethiopia’s Telecom regulator, Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA), awarded licence to the Safaricom led consortium, the state media announced that a $850 million licensing fee is paid in full to the Ethiopian government.
The State owned Ethiopian News Agency quoted Balcha Reba, who is the Director General of Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA), as saying :
“We have begun license execution on May 31st and on June 2nd it has paid 850 million USD to the government through the National Bank of Ethiopia. This money has already been paid to Ethiopia without any pressure under the signature of the provider and license winner.”
The license to be issued enables the operators to conduct business across Ethiopia whose total population is estimated to be over 120 million.
In addition to Safaricom, the consortium is composed of Vodafone, Vodacom, Safaricom, and Sumitomo Corporation. The Ethiopian government has recognized the entity as “Global Partnership for Ethiopia”
Ethiopia’s giant state owned telecom operator, Ethio Telecom which started mobile money recently, has more than 45 million subscribers.