Three weeks after Huawei signed their part of the 1.6 billion dollar contract agreement with ethio telecom, its rival ZTE signed the remaining half last Sunday, August 18, 2013 in Sheraton Addis. The project has been designed to expand mobile phone infrastructure and introduce 4G broadband,
The agreement was signed by the newly appointed CEO of ethio telecom, Andualem Admassie, and his ZTE counterpart, Jia Chen. The event was attended by Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), minister of Communication & Information Technology (MCIT) with the rank of Deputy Prime Minister; Deriba Kuma, the newly elected mayor of Addis Abeba and ethio telecom's board chairperson; Huang Da Bin, vice president of ZTE's Ethiopian office, and Qin Jion, the Chinese ambassador to Ethiopia,.
During the last there weeks the deal has been ongoing, since there were still 'some remaining issues' between ZTE and ethio telecom.
"I hope we can settle some of the complicated issues in the deal and enter the implementation stage as quickly as we can," Jia Chen said at the signing ceremony.
The negotiation, which took over a year, could not enable the ethio telecom to reach as low as one billion dollars. This did not come any closer to the offer made by the two companies.
Huawei and its rival ZTE will take a 50pc market share each. As far as the responsibilities assigned to them are concerned, ZTE will take up a security operation centre and operation support centre. This is because it gave good offers in this regard. Huawei will undertake the customer service supply. Nevertheless, the full scope of the role each company will take still remains undecided.
The project, which is expected to provide Addis Abeba with fourth generation (4G) technology - a broadband technology allowing browsing speeds of 100mb a second - and enable 3G services across the country, will increase the mobile service capacity from the current 23 million to 50 million users, according to Andualem.
Both companies are barred from US contracts and acquisitions, as of early 2012, for allegedly possessing a security threat. They were also subjects of intense political debate in Australia, following the suspension of the two companies from participating in the national broadband network, in March 2012, on security grounds. In May 2013, India followed suit in suspending Huawei and ZTE.
Debretsion, however, contends that such accusations by other nations can in no way generate fear in Ethiopia.
"We [the nation] and China are not rivals. They have no reason to spy on us," he insists.