Huawei signs US$700mn Ethiopian mobile network deal

Huawei office Brücke-OsteuropaHuawei has entered into a deal with Ethiopia to increase the number of phone users in the country. (Image source: Brücke-Osteuropa)Huawei Technologies has entered into a US$700mn mobile phone agreement with the Ethiopian government to develop the country's telecoms infrastructure

The deal, which is half of a US$1.6bn venture divided between Huawei and ZTE, is set to double the number of phone users in the country to 56mn.

Ethiopia’s minister of communications and technology, Debretsion Gebremichael, stated that “this deal will deliver a 4G high-speed broadband network. Although our target is 40mn, now including 3G, we will get to 56mn by 2015”.

Africa’s telecoms industry has been growing quickly, with the number of subscribers across the continent rising from 25mn in 2001 to 650mn in 2012, according to the World Bank.

Ethio Telecoms in the past was regarded as having a monopoly in the Ethiopian telecoms market, as it was the only mobile phone operator in a country with a population of more than 80mn people. This new deal, however, will transform the sector.

The minister revealed that other operators such as South Africa’s MTN Group have been provided with operation licences.

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