Ethiopia plans to give a $ 1.3 billion contract to upgrade its telecommunications infrastructure to two Chinese giants ZTE and Huawei Technologies after they submitted bids two months ago.
The Ethiopian Communication and Information Technology (Ethio-Telecom) company on Friday announced the two Chinese firms were the preferred bidders.
Ethio-Telecom said it will sign a two-year contract with Huawei and ZTE in the next few weeks, which will include technical details and how to divide the works between the companies.
“Both companies will be engaged… and will have a share in the market,” the company said. “They will finance the project aimed at doubling the number of mobile-phone users to 40 million by mid-2015.”
Ethiopia has around 18 million mobile phone users against a population of over 80 million people.
ZTE, which is partly owned by the Chinese government, has worked with Ethio-Telecom over the past six years to support government efforts to improve mobile phone and internet services in the country.
France Telecom was in 2010 given a contract to manage Ethiopia’s telecommunications infrastructure for a two year contract period.
According to Ethio-Telecom, the carrier’s total mobile subscriber base reached 17.26 million users at the end of June 2012, with monthly net additions running at an average of 450,000 per month over the past year.
The company had 18.28 million subscribers, up 59 percent year-on-year, including 805,000 fixed lines in service and 221,000 internet/data connections.
It also boasts of 2.44 million people who regularly use its GPRS (mobile) service.
The company choked up $691.79 million in revenue in the last 10 months and of that amount 66 percent came from its mobile phone operations.