One of the largest telecom carriers in the world, MTN, has identified Ethiopia as a rare new market into which Africa’s largest wireless carrier wants to expand.
“There are a few large markets that are under-penetrated and where there is scope for a No. 1 or No. 2 operator, like Ethiopia,” Rob Shuter, MTN’s CEO told Bloomberg. “That’s obviously one where we would be really excited to participate, in some way.’’
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said last year he is looking to bring in private investors to the country’s telecommunications sector for the first time, prompting interest from operators keen to tap into Africa’s second-biggest population and one of its fastest-growing economies. Since, Vodacom Group Ltd. has also shown interest to venture into the market that is currently under Ethio Telecom’s monopoly.
“There are not that many opportunities for MTN to increase its scale in Africa because we are already in the two large, a lot of the medium and some of the smaller markets,’’ Shuter said.
This new opportunity Ethiopia has to offer, in this light, is going to be significant. The move would fit with the CEO’s focus on markets in which the carrier can be a major player, and where there’s an opportunity to seize on a consumer shift to mobile banking and other data services from voice.