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Ethio telecom will begin a pilot program in Addis Ababa to digitize its subscriber database. The enterprise is currently in the process of contacting customers with incomplete or non-existent data to come and re-register. If people already have their information on paper files at ethio telecom they do not need to come in because that information is being digitized. However people without such information are now required to fill out an Electronic Customer Acquisition Form (ECAF) to harmonize their data with the new format, according to a source at the company.
Ethio telecom has been outsourcing sales of SIM cards to private vendors, which is seen as the main reason they do not have as much data about their clients as they want.
According a source, the new digitalizing process will be eventually spread throughout the country and will include landline and Internet services users.
ECAF includes a picture and electronic signature and will help support other identification systems, such as a centralized, electronic identification system, which is something the government wants to do in the future.
Over 30 million people are currently using mobile phones. In the end of the current budget year the subscription capacity of ethio telecom is expected to reach 60 million with new expansion projects that will include linking 85 percent of the country with a mobile network.
The 4G network is in the process of being constructed by Huawei Technologies. The other part of the country will be connected with a 3G network, which is only available in Addis Ababa currently.
In mid December, 2014, Ethio Telecom signed financing and framework agreement with Ericsson, the Swedish telecom giant, for the upgrade work of the telecom’s network capacity and performance. The network upgrade work is particularly going to be focused on mobile communication and related services.
The agreement is going to improve quality of network coverage and more innovative mobile communication services. It will also enhance the use of Ericsson’s products and services for the purpose of transforming and expanding the current mobile network. In addition to this it will enable to meet the country’s need to bring connectivity to ethio telecom subscribers by the end of the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) period.
Ericsson is expected to start implementing the contract in the coming six months in order to enable ethio telecom to deliver services with required standard and quality.