Ethiopia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Ethiopian government progresses with telecom liberalisation

Ethiopia was one of the last countries in Africa to allow its national telco a monopoly on all telecom services including fixed, mobile, internet and data communications. For many years Ethio Telecom’s monopolistic control stifled innovation, restricted network expansion and limited the scope of services on offer. However, in June 2019 the government approved legislation which will open the market to competition and provide much needed foreign investment. The process to part-privatise Ethio Telecom advanced in September 2019 when the company was audited, while two licenses are expected to be offered to two international operators by the end of the year.

Despite the stimulus from market competition, there has been considerable investment in telecoms services, infrastructure and service expansion projects in recent years. Ethio Telecom has secured a network monitoring platform to help it improve services and has also revised plans to launch a telecom satellite, while the government initiated the construction of a $3 billion technology city.

Most of the technologies deployed thus far have been provided by ZTE and Huawei, which have often been preferred for offering vendor financing. In preparation for competition in the mobile market, Ethio Telecom has placed the expansion of LTE services as a cornerstone of its investment program to 2022.

After years of low uptake due to prohibitive pricing, Ethio Telecom reduced tariffs by up to 50% in 2018, resulting in a sharp increase in data and voice traffic. With retail prices now comparable to other more developed markets in the region, pricing will come under further pressure from 2020 as the two international new operators launch services. This should be a catalyst for steady growth in all sectors in coming years.

Key developments:

  • Ethio Telecom secures mobile network monitoring platform;
  • Safaricom shows interest in securing a mobile licence;
  • Government audits Ethio Telecom in preparation for privatisation, sets up a new telecom regulator;
  • Fibre cabling on the Addis Ababa and Djibouti rail route to be used for telecom services;
  • Government launches mobile apps as part of the e-Government Directorate, announces plan for $3 billion technology city;
  • Major changes anticipated in the second Growth and Development Plan to 2020;
  • Report update includes Telecom Maturity Indexes charts and analyses, Ethio Telecom data to September 2019, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Ethio Telecom (formerly Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation, ETC), EthioNet, Ethio Mobile, Orange Group, Tecno Telecom, Smadl, Tana Communication, Thuraya.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Market analysis
    • TMI vs GDP
    • Mobile and mobile broadband
    • Fixed and mobile broadband
  • Regulatory environment

    • Regulatory authority
    • Telecom service licences
    • Telecom sector liberalisation
    • Privatisation
  • Mobile market

    • Market analysis
    • Mobile statistics
      • General statistics
      • Mobile data
    • Mobile broadband
    • Mobile operator
      • Ethio Mobile
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • 4G (LTE)
      • 3G
      • Other infrastructure developments
    • Mobile content and applications
      • m-banking
    • Mobile handsets
  • Fixed-line broadband market

    • Introduction and statistical overview
    • Broadband statistics
    • Public internet access locations
    • Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • Fixed wireless
  • Fixed network operator

    • Ethio Telecom
    • Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
    • Leased lines, data services
    • VSAT
    • Orange Group management contract
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • Rural area network
    • National backbone network
    • Next Generation Network (NGN)
    • Network development plan 2007-2012
    • Growth and development Plans I and II
    • International infrastructure
    • Smart infrastructure
  • Digital economy

    • E-government
    • E-learning
  • Appendix – Historic data

  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities- Ethiopia – 2019 (e)
  • Table 2 – Growth in the number of mobile subscribers, and penetration – 2010 - 2024
  • Table 3 – Growth in SMS traffic – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 4 – Growth in the number of active mobile broadband subscribers, and penetration – 2009 – 2024
  • Table 5 – Growth in the proportion of households with internet access – 2007 - 2019
  • Table 6 – Growth in the number of fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 – 2024
  • Table 7 – Growth in the number of Ethio Telecom’s DSL subscribers – 2011 – 2019
  • Table 8 – Growth in Ethio Telecom’s revenue – 2012 - 2019
  • Table 9 – Growth in the number of fixed lines and teledensity – 2009 – 2024
  • Table 10 – Growth development Plan I and II objectives – 2015; 2020
  • Table 11 – International internet bandwidth – 2002 – 2017
  • Table 12 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 13 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate – 1996 – 2009
  • Table 14 – Historic – Fixed internet subscribers – 1997 - 2009
  • Table 15 – Historic - Broadband subscribers – 2003 – 2009
  • Table 16 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2009

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Overall Africa view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 2 – East Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Africa – Bottom-tier Telecoms Maturity Index (Market Emergents) – 2018
  • Chart 4 – East Africa –Telecoms Maturity Index by country – 2018
  • Chart 5 – East Africa mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration – 2018
  • Chart 6 – East Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates – 2018
  • Chart 7 – Growth in the number of mobile subscribers, and penetration – 2009 - 2024
  • Chart 8 – Growth in SMS traffic – 2010 – 2019
  • Chart 9 – Growth in the number of active mobile broadband subscribers, and penetration – 2010 - 2024
  • Chart 10 – Growth in the proportion of households with internet access – 2007 - 2019
  • Chart 11 – Growth in the number of fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 – 2024
  • Chart 12 – Growth in the number of Ethio Telecom’s DSL subscribers – 2011 – 2019
  • Chart 13 – Growth in Ethio Telecom’s revenue – 2012 - 2019
  • Chart 14 – Growth in the number of fixed lines and teledensity – 2009 – 2024
  • Chart 15 – International internet bandwidth – 2002 – 2017

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment

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