Extra Telecom Operators Enhance Telecom Services, Boost Gov’t Income: ECA

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Addis Ababa, ENA, October, 23/2012 The involvement of foreign tele-com operators in Ethiopia will enhance universal telecom service access across the country beyond boosting revenue, Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA) said.
Director-General of the Authority, Balcha Reba, told ENA that the coming of new operators to Ethiopia encourages private investment, enhances alternative and competitiveness, and universal telecom service access of the country.

The government of Ethiopian has decided to halt its monopoly on several sectors last year through partially or fully liberalize key businesses firms including Ethio-telecom.

“Having more than one telecom operators have various benefits for the country and the customers as it encourages more competition and investment on the telecommunication services,” Balcha pointed out.

The telecommunication service accessibility entirely depends on the government, the Director-General said adding that “but if we have many operators, all operators are going to invest in expansion works and that has a significant advantage to increase service accessibility”.

Moreover, the introduction of operators will offer customers with various alternatives and operators will be initiated to increase service quality and price competition as well.

Likewise, the government’s gain is expected to move up both from tax revenue and radio frequency sale in a bid to the operators, Balcha said.    

The engagement of new operators enhances universal access of the telecommunication service especially in rural remote areas, and people with low income.

If operators are not keen to go to these areas with low traffic, the government receives universal service fund from the total income of the operators to subside those areas, beyond the income from taxation and frequency.

He further pointed out that “when bidders enter to the service there will be high foreign direct investment and income generation”.

Ethiopia was one of the last countries in Africa to allow its national telecom monopoly on all telecom services including fixed, mobile, internet and data communications.