Ethiopia has signed a $700 million mobile phone deal with China’s Huawei Technologies to improve the telecoms infrastructure in the country.
The agreement, which is half of a $1.6 billion project split between Huawei and ZTE is expected to double phone users in the country to 56 million.
Ethiopia’s Minister of Communications and Technology, Debretsion Gebremichael stated that “this deal will deliver 4G high-speed broad band network. Although our target is 40 million, now including 3G, we will get to 56 million by 2015”, he said.
World Bank posits that Africa’s rapidly expanding telecoms industry has come to symbolize its economic growth, with subscribers across the continent increasing from a mere 25 million in 2001 to 650 million in 2012.
Before now, Telecoms in Ethiopia was considered a monopoly with only Ethio Telecoms as its only mobile phone operator in a country of more than 80 million people. The new deal with the Chinese firm is expected to boost the sector.
According to the minister, other operators like South Africa’s MTN Group have been granted operation licenses.