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Ethiopia adopts telecoms proclamation

The Communications Service Proclamation has been adopted by the Ethiopian Parliament and introduces a number of major changes into the Ethiopian telecoms sector. Commentary from DLA Piper's telecoms team notes that the most important aspect of the proclamation is that it has liberalised the sector, which has been monopolised by the government for many decades. Its relevant part (Article 54) states that the telecoms sector should be “open without limitation to private investors including both domestic investors and foreign investors”. Therefore, foreign companies can now engage in the provision of telecoms services in Ethiopia.

The proclamation also establishes the Ethiopian Communications Authority as the principal regulatory body for the telecoms sector in Ethiopia. It is mandated, among other things, to license and supervise telecom services providers, to regulate tariffs and to specify technical standards in the sector. “As a result of the establishment of the authority, the role of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, which is currently the main regulatory body of the telecoms sector, is generally limited to formulating national policies for the sector and liaising with the authority to facilitate the exercise of proper regulatory powers on actors in the communications sector.”

DLA Piper's Mike Conradi comments that the proclamation will be a critical piece of legislation for the success of Ethiopia's (announced) plans to privatise Ethio Telecom, which is currently the monopoly telecoms provider in the country, and to introduce competition by issuing new licences.

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  • Tuesday, 16 July 2019

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