Ethio Telecom amasses 20 bln birr


Ethio Telecom (ET) has increased its profit by three billion birr, compared with the last fiscal year.
The state monopoly reports huge profits every year.
This year, it has for the first time recorded gross profits of 20 billion birr before taxes and other expenses, according to reliable sources.
One year ago, it recorded gross profits of 17 billion birr from its telecoms business.
This year, it has enjoyed growth in mobile users and revenues, but it is not clear how much ET has made from this element of its business.
The country’s sole telecommunications provider is the biggest company in the country, with profits dwarfing those of other state or private firms.
Despite problems with mobile service and Internet coverage in many areas of Addis Ababa and other towns, ET says it has seen a dramatic increase in customers.
Ethiopia now has an estimated 23 million mobile phone users, according to the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Debretsion GebreMichael.
According to ET sources, staff have for the last three weeks been working on targets set out in the government’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).
The firm is also introducing new technology that will allow customers to use the next generation of mobile phone top-up (E-topup), that will eventually replace the voucher card scheme.
ET sources said the new system has already been tested and is initially expected to be available at ATM machines, later expanding to shops and supermarkets.
In some countries, facilities allowing people to pay utility bills and top up their mobile phones at Post Point retail outlets are being redeveloped to take advantage of advances in terminal and security technology.
Abdurahim Ahmed, ET’s External Communications Officer, told Capital a detailed report on the system is not yet finalised.
The company has awarded part of its $1.6 billion expansion to the Chinese giant Huawei Technology.
A deal with ZTE, which won the vendor financing contract jointly with Huawei, is yet to be concluded.
This project is a major part of the telecom sector of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), which is due to be completed in 2015.
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 enabling 3G service across the country.
The country’s overall telecom network coverage will also increase to 85 per cent.
According to ET, mobile service core networks, power supply and network backhaul, transmission and fibre optic capacity were included in the first phase of the project.
The second phase 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 handled by Huawei and ZTE will be responsible for the security operation centre and operation supply centre.
In related development, taking into consideration its customers’ interest, Ethio-Telecom has now come up with a new type of service called “hybrid business mobile service”, through which pre-payment card service is available.
This service can replace post-payment multi-services and will be quite useful to organizations as well as employees. Accordingly, for organizations that aren’t using multi-business mobile services, a five-option multi-service, including the CUG optional service, has arrived with discounts for calls made among employees of an organization.