The Ethiopian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MoCIT) is planning to invest in the latest 3G LTE (long-term evolution) telecommunications networking technology.
The project is aimed at doubling the existing 20 million mobile users by the 2014/15 fiscal year, and solving the present network problems. The Ministry is in talk with the two Chinese telecommunication companies, ZTE and Huawei. The project cost is estimated to reach USD 1.5 billion.
“Ethio telecom is undertaking a technical evaluation of the proposals submitted by the two companies.” Mesfin Belachew (PhD), e-government directorate director at the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology (MCIT), told Fortune.
According to Mesfin, the upgrade project will be awarded to either of the two companies and agreements expected to be concluded within two months.
3G LTE is a wireless broadband technology, designed to support roaming Internet access using cell phones and hand-held devices. Its structural design is based on an Internet Protocol (IP), and unlike many other cellular IPs, LTE supports browsing and downloading at 300 megabits a second.
A frequent telecommunications services disruption has been linked to damages to the country’s fiber optic line and incompatibility of a network infrastructure installed by Nokia with the current network structure. The Ministry currently runs five alternatives multiple fiber optic and satellite connections through Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya. The latest network infrastructure is expected to be six times faster than the industry average 3G download speeds.