Ethiopia concluded a US$700 million contract with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong.The agreement will see the number of subscribers to 56 million with the expansion and upgrade of Ethiopia's mobile phone infrastructure. Huawei will also set up high-speed 4G broadband network capability in the capital Addis Ababa and 3G service throughout Ethiopia.
Andualem Admassie, acting chief executive officer of Ethio Telecom, and his counterpart from Huawei, Jony Duon signed the agreement on Thursday, July 25, 2013. Huawei has been involved in developing phone and internet services for the state-owned, Ethio Telecom for several years.
The agreement is half of a the US$1.6 billion project split between Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese multinational multinational telecom equipment and systems company. Both firms will finance the project cost. Ethiopia will sign the other half of the agreement next week, Debretsion Gebremichael, Ethiopia's deputy prime minister and minister of communications and technology said.
Ethio Telecom is the only mobile operator in Ethiopia with more than 80 million population. However, the government in 2012 allowed private companies to provide value-added services - all services other than standard voice calls. The Ethiopian government is not planning to fully liberalize the corporation in the near future.