Safaricom Dealt a Blow as Licence Bids are Suspended

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Safaricom leadership at a meeting in Ethiopia [Source/@SafaricomET]

Telecommunication giant Safaricom has been hit hard after Ethiopia suspended second telecommunication licence bids. The licensing was included allowing those who would win the bidding to invest in mobile money. This is a blow to Safaricom slowing it's planned M-Pesa launch.

Speaking via a December 22 notice, the Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA) stated that they have cancelled their planned new telecommunications licence issue. The entity stated that the move was necessitated by complaints from concerned parties.

“ECA received concerns and requests from several prospective bidders to delay the process and issue the request for proposal (RFP) at a convenient time in the future, which the authority fully concurred with,” the statement read.

The process will be launched in the near future. This suspension means Safaricom will have its M-Pesa rollout in Ethiopia delayed. Fortunately, the local money transfer giant is likely to only face competition from Ethio Telecom for other mobile services.

The licence to expand M-Pesa services into Ethiopia was expected to be issued this month. The entity was awaiting clear communication from Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA) concerning requirements needed to get the mobile money transfer licensing.

Safaricom is eying 50 million phone subscribers in Ethiopia from the 112 million people.

The Ethiopian economy is largely closed but 5he government has started to strategically open it. Unfortunately, the civil war has slowed this process.

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