Huawei, ZTE to share $1.6B deal in Ethiopia

Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE will share a $1.6 billion contract for the expansion of Ethiopia's existing mobile infrastructure and to introduce 3G across the country and LTE services in the capital of Addis Ababa.

According to Reuters, Ethiopia has already signed a $700 million agreement with Huawei and will sign the other half of the deal with ZTE next week, said Debretsion Gebremichael, Ethiopia's deputy prime minister and minister of communications and technology. Gebremichael had indicated in late May that the deal was at hand.

Reuters reported that Andualem Admassie, acting CEO of state-run Ethio Telecom, and Jony Duon, his counterpart at Huawei, signed the agreement that will increase subscribers in the African country to 56 million by 2015.

"Although our target is 40 million, now including 3G it will be 56 million by 2015. That would be the capacity," Gebremichael said.

Ethiopia is one of the last-remaining countries in Africa to maintain a telecoms monopoly, and appears to be in no rush to liberalise the sector, preferring to spend money on building railway projects, Reuters added.

However, the government has opened the doors to providers of non-voice value-added services, and said it has received applications from 218 companies so far. MTN of South Africa has already been granted a licence, Reuters reported.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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