Deadline extended for aspiring telecom entrants

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Balcha Reba, Director General of ECA

As per the request of bidders the Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA) rescheduled the deadlines for the two telecom licenses bid document submission, meanwhile companies have demanded up to 45 days of extension.
The final date for the submission of documents for the highly anticipated opening up telecom sector was on Monday April 5.
However, on the same day the authority announced that it has pushed the deadline by three weeks which is till April 26.
On the announcement, ECA has stated that the decision to postpone for the submission of proposal is as per the request of potential bidders.
“Due to requests by bidders to have more time to finalize their offer in light of the COVID 19 market environment, ECA determined their request to be appropriate and the deadline for submission of bids for the two new telecom operator licenses is extended to April 26, 2021 at 10:00 am East Africa Time (EAT),” ECA stated on its social page.
It is now the second time postponing the submission period that was originally on March 5, while on the question and answer session of the request for proposal early this year; bidders had expressed their demand to get more time for preparation that was followed by pushing the date for April 5.
On the bidding process the authority has conducted several clarification and discussion with bidders as per their submission of query to which the final conference was held on February 25.
Balcha Reba, Director General of ECA, in his comment about the reschedule of the bid submission said that it is normal that bid submission date extension is requested by bidders, when they think they do not have sufficient time to complete their preparations for the bidding.
“Bidders officially requested to have additional time to finalize their bid proposal. After putting their proposal together, bidding companies need time to discuss with their board of directors, shareholders, financial partners, etc, to get final approval on their investment and offer. Hence, they have requested extension of bid submission date by 30 to 45 days,” he told Capital via text message.
“Considering this, ECA, in consultation with concerned entities determined the request to be valid, and decided to extend the bid submission date by three weeks (21 days),” he added.
The request for proposal was issued on November 27, 2020.
At the expression of interest request, about 12 companies had shown their interest to get as new entry to the industry.
About 36 requests and expression of interests from all over the world had come from those who wanted to be involved in the bid.
Recently, Balcha told Capital that the government has given required attention to close the bidding in a transparent manner.
Experts in the industry said that giant companies are aggressively working to be part of one of the two new operators in the huge market with about 120 million citizens. “Major global players on the telecom industry are highly eager to be part of the market and the presence of some companies is also seen the town,” one of the sector expert who closely followed the companies activity told Capital.