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Ethiopia signs 3G & 4G deals with Chinese telecoms giants

By The Africa Report
Posted on Thursday, 1 August 2013 08:46

The deal, which comes after a lengthy tender process, will see the introduction of 4G mobile phone network in the capital, Addis Ababa, as well as the expansion of the 3G network nationwide by the end of 2015.

Addis Ababa has one of the highest smart-phone penetration rates among African capitals.

Negotiations for the project began a year ago, with eight international companies bidding for the contract.

But the contract was finally awarded to two Chinese companies, Huwaei and ZTE, following fierce competition from the two Chinese telecoms giants.

However, despite being awarded the contract, ZTE has yet to sign the deal for undisclosed reasons.

Sources close to Ethio-telecom claim that the Chinese company has yet to finalise formalities before the final agreement.

According to government sources, the partly Chinese state-owned ZTE won an earlier expansion project estimated at about $ 1.5 bn “a few years ago”.

Although ZTE is expected to share the new project with new comer, Huawei, it was not clear if the company would join the project.

The new expansion plan will see Ethiopia divided into 11 zones.

ZTE is expected to work in five zones, Huawei will work in the remaining zones, alongside the 4G network construction in Addis Ababa.

Deputy Prime Minister Debretsion Gebremichael said the government decided to award Huawei the 4G project in spite of their good working relations with ZTE.

The new acting CEO of Ethio-telecom, Andualem Admasse, and his Huwaei counterpart, Jony Duon, signed the agreement on July 26.

While the deal will see an increase in data capacity for mobile phone subscribers in the Horn of Africa country, the 4G network, expected to provide a broadband technology with up to a 100MB browsing speed, will be limited to the capital.

3G will be enabled across the country.

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