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The telecom expansion project expected to be taken on by two Chinese telecom giants was partially signed with Huawei Technology a week ago.
ZTE was also expected to sign the deal this week, according to government officials that attended the Huawei signing ceremony.
Sources at the state-owned telecoms monopoly, Ethio Telecom (et), said its deal with ZTE is expected to go ahead, but will be delayed.
It is believed this is because ZTE did not have the necessary contractual documents in place for the signing ceremony.
On Friday August 2, the recently appointed Et’s acting CEO , Andualem Admassie, said that the company expects to submit the final document soon.
“Hopefully, we will sign the deal in the coming week,” the acting CEO told Capital.
Debretsion Gebremichael, Head of the Economic Cluster with the rank of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Information and Communication Technology, told journalists that the deal would be finalized after the conclusion of some remaining technicalities.
According to sources, Huawei, which is involved for the first time in such an expansion project in Ethiopia, has already begun importing equipment and some cargo for the project which is believed to have already arrived at Mojo Dry Ports.
Telecom experts said that China’s number one telecom company – which leads the telecoms world in terms of revenue, having overtaken Ericsson – will have to wait for the deal to be completed between Ethio Telecom and ZTE before it can start work on the project.
“Some of the projects involve teamwork and the two vendors’ networks have also to be compatible, so Huawei has to await the finalisation of the other deal,” experts explained.
The two telecom firms will equally share the USD 1.6 billion project.
The highly-anticipated 4G expansion project in Addis Ababa was awarded to Huawei.
The expansion project contract would enable et to increase mobile service capacity from the current 23 million subscribers to 50 million and provide 4G access for Addis, as well as enable 3G service across the country.
Sources suggest ZTE, a state-owned Chinese company had undertaken the previous USD 1.5 billion telecom expansion project that finalised in 2009.
This project is a major part in the telecom sector of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), which is due to be completed in 2015. This project has been delayed for almost a year.
The country’s overall telecom network coverage will also increase to 85 percent.
According to Et, mobile service core networks, power supply and network backhaul, transmission and fibre optic capacity were included on the first lot of the project.
The second lot included IP service, customer billing system, customer relations management system, next generation call centre, security operation centre, telecom fraud management and video surveillance.
The customer service supply will be undertaken by Huawei and ZTE will be eligible to undertake the sector of security operation centre and operation supply centre.
The Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which amassed USD 2.4 billion in total revenue, has huge investments in the telecom sector, including equipment production.