Ethiopia Ethio Telecom to launch mobile money services

The new mobile money services from Ethio Telecom will provide services such as cash transfers and payments through customers' mobile phones.

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Ethiopia Ethio Telecom to launch mobile money services www.financialstand.com

Ethiopia‘s state-run telecommunications agency Ethio Telecom will launch a mobile money service next week, the company said in a statement released late on Thursday.

With Ethiopia in the midst of liberalising its telecoms sector, Ethio’s telebirr will provide services such as cash transfers and payments through customers’ mobile phones.

After Ethiopia pledged to allow prospective owners of new telecom licences to offer mobile banking services at some point after entering the market, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The initial exclusion of mobile money from the auction process had caused mobile operators to hesitate to overbid for the new spectrum and influenced the amount they were prepared to offer, said the sources, who asked not to be identified as the process is ongoing.

The state also backtracked on an insistence that new entrants rent infrastructure such as telecom towers from state-owned Ethio Telecom indefinitely, they said.

The concessions are part of Ethiopia’s drawn-out effort to open its telecom market to outside investors, a central tenet of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s plans to reform the economy and generate foreign exchange.

A consortium of MTN Group and China’s Silk Road Fund has submitted a bid, as did a group including the Vodafone and African partners. A response to the two offers is expected in the coming days, the sources said.

Eyob Tekalign, the Ethiopian state minister responsible for privatization, could not be reached for comment, said Bloomberg. Vodafone and MTN declined to comment on an ongoing process, the news agency said.

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