Vodacom comes calling

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One of the world’s largest telecom firms, Vodacom Group, which is owned by the multinational Vodafone (65%), is interested in joining the Ethiopian Market. Their regional CEO visited for two days with a team of experts to meet with government officials and assess the nation’s telecom market.
After Ethiopia announced it was opening up telecom to foreign investors French telecom operator Orange, Airtel Africa and Johannesburg based MTN all expressed interest in Ethiopia’s telecom sector, however Vodacom would be a fierce competitor.
“We think we have the technology, ability and experience to succeed. We are waiting to see what the conditions are by looking at rules and regulations to determine if we want to participate in the business,” Vivek Badrinath Vodafone Group’s regional CEO for Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific said.
Earlier this week President Sahle-work Zewde, speaking at parliament, gave much-awaited details of moves to liberalize the telecom industry, saying two private firms would be given licenses to operate in the sector before the end of July 2020.
The company provides a wide range of services in the global telecom sector, including voice, messaging and data across mobile and fixed networks. They spent their time here meeting with government officials and businesspeople in order to understand the expectations of stakeholders.
“We met with several departments to learn about opportunities in telecommunication. It is more of study mission, which includes trying to understand the needs of Ethiopia and how we can make a difference as our company wants to transform as many lives as possible in an inclusive way across society,” the CEO added.
Vivek called the Ethiopian market massive and noted that telecom has not penetrated as much of the population as other African countries.
“Our purpose is to impact and make a difference by reaching the population at large. We don’t think our telecom products are luxurious, rather we think of them as very useful transformative products,” said the CEO.
They are working with possible partners to assess the feasibility of introducing a new operator into the telecom sector. “When the new operator comes to the telecom sector, it has various benefits in terms of price, quality and coverage,” Vivek remarked.
“We are not absent or late in understanding the Ethiopian market as the government has not yet published the details. We want to conduct the studies to participate as soon as the bid is published,” the CEO said.
Vodacom is excited about Ethiopia because it has a young population with an appetite for knowledge, a strong culture and great assets for industry, he said.