State telecom operator secures on massive proceeds
- Public opinion diverges on privatization
The state monopoly, Ethio Telecom has announced 47.7 billion birr revenue it has generated during the concluded Ethiopian Fiscal Year. The state owned enterprise has stated that the amount of revenue generated during the year has a 105 percent achievement of its targeted incomes, a 30 percent more of last year’s performance.
A few days ago, Frehiwot Tamru, chief executive officer of Ethio Telecom has stated that the company not only has been able to generate a beefed up revenues. In addition to that, USD 148 million has also been generated from voice, data and value added services during the concluded fiscal year. This segment of Ethio Telecom’s performance has seen a surge of 107 percentage outcome from the targeted revenues from foreign services. In fact, when compared with last year’s achievements, it has risen by 50 percent more this year, Frehiwot said.
Reporting more pleasing performances, Frehiwot mentioned that, a 10.2 billion birr or a USD 319 million loan repayment, an 11.3 billion birr payment in taxes, and a 4 billion birr dividend shares payable to founding public institutions. Moreover, it has contributed 1.2 billion birr donations as part of its social responsibility engagements.
Ethio Telecom has expanded the reaches and the penetration of its services across the country. The delightful CEO has reported that the company has managed to reach out to customers and has registered 46.2 million subscribers during the concluded budget year. Currently, there are 44.5 million mobile network subscribers and some 24 million date and Internet users in the country.
Ethio Telecom has expanded services with a 4G full coverage across Addis Ababa and that has contributed to expand the telecom services coverage reaching to 95 percent of the population with 3G services, point to point and point to multipoint technologies that help to stretch services into a wider expanses of geographical locations. That all has contributed to the country to reach to a 46 percent Tele-density in its telecom service coverage.
The massively growing revenues are coming at a time when Ethio Telecom has announced up to a 72 percent slash on its telecom service tariffs. Late last year, the company has announced it has reduced service tariffs and has dropped subscription charges, deposit guarantees, and significantly has removed speed cap and limits on residential customers of fixed broadband service users. The previous poorly set minimum internet speed has now made to be set at one megabyte per second (Mbs). That helped the company to register a 414 percent upsurge in its monthly subscriptions.
These all achievements and growing performances have not yet convinced to halt the call for partial privatization of Ethio Telecom. While many tend to buy the government’s stands of liberalization of the telecom sector in Ethiopia, growing number of experts, public figures and political entities are questioning the privatization process that seeks transferring 40 percent of its stake to foreign players.
The government argues, the partial privatization is meant to create more competitive muscle to the state enterprise that having the leverage of financial and technical resources from the privatization transactions, Ethio Telecom is likely be able to withstand the seemingly stiff competition foreign firms might pose. It can be recalled that, the government is finalizing the process of liberalization and two foreign telecom operators are about joining the sector. So far, 12 companies have expressed interests.