ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s state telecoms monopoly Ethio Telecom on Wednesday reported a 32% rise in first-half revenue to 22 billion birr ($693 million).
The government, led by reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, plans to offer a minority stake in Ethio Telecom to a strategic investor, a move that has attracted interest from leading operators including Kenya’s Safaricom. [nL8N27H0OW]
Its telephone subscribers rose by 10.9% to 44.03 million in the half year which ended Dec. 31, Ethio Telecom said in a statement.
It also increased users for its mobile data services on both the third (3G) and 2G platforms, it said.
“Preparation for 4G network expansion in Addis Ababa, regional capitals and other major cities is also underway,” the company said.
Since coming to power in 2018, Abiy has announced major economic and political reforms and has pledged to open up the largely state-controlled economy to private investment.
Ethiopia’s telecoms industry is considered the big prize because of its huge protected market serving a population of around 100 million people.
Officials plan to award two telecoms licences to multinational mobile companies by April, Ethiopia’s communications regulator said last year. [nL5N2774Z7]
($1 = 31.7387 birr)
(Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw; writing by Duncan Miriri; editing by George Obulutsa and Jason Neely)