The Ethiopian government is set to sign agreements with China's ZTE Corporation and Huawei Technologies in the next few weeks to expand the African country's mobile communications infrastructure.
At the same time, Ethiopia expects to double its mobile phone users to a total of 40 million with these new deals.
Debretsion Gebremichael, deputy prime minister and minister of communications and technology of Ethiopia, said that they are in the final stage of dealing with ZTE and Huawei. However, he refused to disclose the financial details to local media, and he said two companies would finance this project.
State-owned Ethio Telecom is the only mobile operator in the country and it has over 80 million users across the country. At the end of 2012, the government of Ethiopia approved a directive, which allowed private companies to provide value-added services in addition to standard voice calls. So far, 218 companies have expressed their interests in providing related applications, but only South Africa's MTN Group, the largest mobile phone company in Africa, has gained a license.
Statistics provided by the World Bank revealed that the number of phone users in Africa increased from 25 million in 2001 to 650 million in 2012. The rapid development of the telecom industry has become the symbol of economic growth in Africa.
Juniper Research, a consulting firm, said that with the popularization of mobile phones, the demands for mobile banking services will increase and the mobile banking industry will realize market value of USD22 billion by 2015. At present, Ethiopia is preparing for the mobile banking services.