Despite problems with mobile networks and Internet in some areas of Addis and regional towns Ethio Telecom (ET) reported that they have seen a dramatic increase in customers and they expect connectivity issues to be resolved after ruptured fiber optic cables are repaired and upgrading of the network is completed.
Abdurahim Ahmed External Communications Officer at ET announced on September 14 that overall revenue was 12.35 billion birr last fiscal year, with two thirds coming from mobile services. This was 70pct of the 17.57 billion birr they had hoped to rake in.
Ethio Telecom’s gross profits, the money actually earned before taxes and other fees, amounted to 8.87 billion birr. They had hoped to net 10.16 billion birr.
Almost one quarter 22.4pct of Ethio Telecom’s profits came from international traffic interconnection with the rest primarily coming from fixed telephone lines.
Ethio Telecom’s customer base has reached 18.28 million people, registering a 59pct increase in the last fiscal year. Mobile services, which constituted the vast majority of the customer base, had anticipated reaching 21.9 million subscribers and in actuality attracted 17.28 million customers. This was an increase of 700,000 people, a 79pct achievement of the target. Fixed line numbers reached 805,000 people or 81.4pct of intended performance targets.
Internet and data service customers reached 221,000, 89pct performance. This does not include 2.44 million users who receive mobile Internet service.
There were more than 4,000 SIM and Voucher card retail distributors by the end of the fiscal year, while the number of wholesalers increased from six to 45, as the number of points of sale in the country reached over 45,000.
“The number of mobile phone subscribers we have currently ranks us in the sixth position in Africa and first in east Africa,” said Abdurahmin adding that prominent countries like Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt are the ones beating Ethiopia’s figures.
Jean-Michel Lattute, the outgoing CEO of ET said the previous fiscal year witnessed the entry of the fiber optic lines from Djibouti and Sudan and that the Kenya fiber optics line route which was operational has been experiencing difficulty because of repeated undersea cutting of the lines.
He also said the problem with slow Internet connectivity in Ethiopia had been caused by this and congestion. He feels that when a Kenya route is added and more fiber optic lines are laid the Internet speed will improve.
“As we all know in this age of Information Communication Technology service is not a luxury, but it’s a basic necessity and development accelerator of every nation,” Jean-Michel said adding that Ethio Telecom accomplished encouraging results and should meet the sector target of the five year GTP plan.
Meanwhile ET introduced its new CEO who began working September 15. Bruno Duthoit is replacing Jean-Michel who was said to have stepped down for personal reasons.
Bruno, who graduated from the French “Ecole Polytechnique” state run scientific school, has two decades plus experience in France Telecom as the CEO of Orange (France Telecom) in the south eastern European countries of Moldova and Armenia and served as board member of Orange in Poland.