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An expected telecom expansion project still has yet to get off the ground. An agreement early in the Ethiopian fiscal year between Ethio Telecom (et) and two Chinese telecom companies was expected to net them each USD 800 thousand but the companies are saying they have not been informed exactly what their responsibilities are.
Sources at the companies told Capital that they have not received final approval from ethio-telecom or the Ministry of Communication about what their responsibilities should be.
Even though the government said the project would begin as soon as possible so far there hasn’t been any ground work.
Sources indicated that the Chinese giant, Huawei Technology, has only completed surveying for the project in Addis Ababa. This is because they were awarded that specific task. However they do not know what projects outside of Addis they are supposed to do.
“Because of this the companies are unable to undertake any kind of ground work including surveying,” sources said.
The project was highly anticipated because it was supposed to dramatically improve service and was anticipated to be completed when the Growth and Transformation Plan sunsets next fiscal year. However according to experts if the current trend continues it will not be able to finish the project by that time.
The state monopoly was supposed to assign an international supervisor to coordinate the expansion and very recently they posted a bid for a consultancy service which is expected to be opened in one week.
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.
ZTE, a state-owned Chinese company had undertaken the previous USD 1.5 billion telecom expansion project that was finished in 2009.
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, a 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 undertake security operation and the 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.
Capital’s effort to meet Andualem Admassie, CEO of et, and Abdurahim Ahmed, head of corporate communication, was unfruitful.