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Vietnam’s largest telco Contemplating Entering Ethiopian Market

Vietnam’s largest telecommunication company Viettel is contemplating tapping into the Ethiopian market as the country opens up to foreign investment. The telco’s decision is based on the government’s announcement to liberalise main economic sectors including telecommunications.

Last month, the Ethiopian government said it plans to open up the Ethiopian Airlines and the state-owned telecom company to private investment. The plan entails selling a minority stake in Ethio Telecom, issuing licenses to new operators, or a combination of both.

Viettel’s company representative said: “With the experiences of Viettel over the years, the option of granting a new [operating] licence will create better competition for telcos which is also the option that we prefer.”

The representative also said that even though Ethiopia only sells a stake in Ethio Telecom which has more than 60 million mobile subscribers, Viettel could still be interested.

“If [the] Ethiopian government offers the clear and sensitive option for selling of Ethio Telecom’s shares, Viettel will still thoroughly consider this option if it is suitable with Viettel’s investment strategies,” said the representative.

There are other telecom companies that are interested in the Ethiopian market such as the Johannesburg-listed MTN, France’s Orange, and Kenya’s Safaricom. Safaricom is in the advanced stages of introducing the M-Pesa mobile money service in Ethiopia.

Viettel has operations in Tanzania, Cameroon, Mozambique, and Burundi.

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