Ethiopia: Ethio Telecom Reports Revenue Boom in Pandemic Season

(file photo).

Ethiopia's only telecoms company on Thursday announced that it has earned 47.7 billion birr ($ 1.3 billion) in total revenue in the 2012 Ethiopian budget year which ran from July 1, 2019 to June 30.

According to Ethio Telecom's performance report, this year's revenue saw a 105.1 per cent boost over the company's target for the year.

This is an increase of 31.4 per cent compared to the previous year.

According to the report, $147.7 million was generated from international services, a 107 per cent jump from the target and a five per cent rise from the previous year.

The major payments Ethio Telecom made during the fiscal year were $321 million in taxes and $113 million in dividends paid to the government.

It also paid $318.4 million for projects carried out by Vender Financial Modeling. These and other payments were never transferred to the next budget.

VIRUS FIGHT

The company allocated significant resources to the nationwide effort to curb the spread of Covid-19.

According to the report, Ethio Telecom has donated 100 million birr ($2.8 million) to the fight against the deadly coronavirus.

It has also provided funds for research by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and has been providing free internet access for online learning.

Despite the success story, however, the company is yet to announce its net profit.

It attributed the good performance to a growing customer base, network expansion and service quality.

The company has introduced a number of international products and services through upgrades such as the 4G network throughout Addis Ababa and a high-speed 4G Advanced network in some areas.

There have also been extensive improvements in the cable broadband service.

The report said the extensive work, done to safeguard institutional security and curb fraud, increased the company's foreign exchange earnings.

Ethio Telecom's number of clients has reached 46.2 million, a 5.8 percent increase from last year's figure.

SETBACKS

One of the challenges the company faced during the fiscal year was the outbreak of the virus, which affected its expansion and service delivery.

It also occasioned supply delays and restricted movement to generate new customers.

Other challenges stated in the annual report include theft and cutting of fiber and copper lines, power outages, telecom scams and security problems.

Last month, Ethiopia suffered losses of at least $100 million as a result of an internet shutdown imposed due to deadly unrest and which lasted over three weeks.

PRIVATISATION

Last June, Ethiopia made an official invitation to foreign telecom operators to buy a 40 per cent stake in Ethio Telecom.

Safaricom and its parent company Vodacom have jointly expressed interest to gain a foothold in Africa's fastest growing economy and the continent's second most populous nation, with more than 105 million people.

On June 22, the Ethiopian Telecommunications Authority (ETA), the sector regulator, said it had received 12 submissions, nine of which were by telecom operators and two by non-telecom operators. There was one incomplete submission.

The ETA later acknowledged receipt of complete information and an expression of interest from the Global Partnership for Ethiopia, which is a consortium of telecom operators made up of Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom.

Others that applied were Etisalat, Axian, MTN, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company, Telkom SA, Liquid Telecom, Snail Mobile, and two non-telecom operators - Kandu Global Telecommunications and Electromechanical International Projects.

Recently, Deloitte Consulting was selected to give advice on the partial privatisation process of the state utility.

Alongside the Ethiopian Airlines, Ethio Telecom is one of Ethiopia's most profitable State-run companies in Ethiopia.

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