Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation
|Predecessor(s)||Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation|
|Headquarters||Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
|Key people||Amare Amsalu, CEO
Debretsion Gebre Michael, Chairman of the Board
The Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) was, until December 2010, the sole telecommunication service provider in Ethiopia. Based in Addis Ababa, it was the second-largest state-owned company in Ethiopia, the largest being Ethiopian Airlines.
It was replaced by Ethio Telecom on December 2, 2010. The new company is also fully owned by the state, but management is outsourced to France Télécom for two years. The government said it outsourced the management as ETC was not able to meet the demands of the fast growing country. It also said that telecom services would not be privatized, at least not in the near future.
Originally a division of the Ministry of Post, Telephone and Telegraph, what would become the ETC was established as the Imperial Board of Telecommunications of Ethiopia (IBTE) by proclamation No. 131/52 in 1952. Under the Derg Regime, the IBTE was reorganized as the Ethiopian Telecommunications Service on October 1975, which was in turn reorganized on January 1981 as the Ethiopian Telecommunications Authority. On November 1996, the Ethiopian Telecommunications Authority became ETC by Council of Ministers regulation No. 10/1996. The subsequent Proclamation 49/1996 expanded the ETC's duties and responsibilities. For its international traffic links and communication services, ETC mainly uses its earth station at Sululta which transmits and receives to both Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean satellites.
In late 2006, the ETC signed an agreement worth US$1.5 billion with three Chinese companies, ZTE Corporation, Huawei Technologies and the Chinese International Telecommunication Construction Corporation, to upgrade and expand Ethiopian telecommunications services. This agreement will increase the number of mobile services from 1.5 million to 7 million, land line telephone services from 1 million to 4 million, and expansion of the fibre optic network, from the present 4,000 kilometers to 10,000 by 2010. It is part of a larger US$ 2.4 billion plan by the Ethiopian government to improve the country’s telecommunications infrastructure.
The ETC has been accused of using its monopoly to prevent criticism of the Ethiopian government. According to Human Rights Watch,
- Since 2005, access to certain internet sites has been blocked within Ethiopia. Although most blocked sites are those run by Ethiopians in the diaspora who are highly critical of the government, ETC has also intermittently blocked access to other sites. In 2008, the Committee to Protect Journalists site was blocked for several months after it reported the arrest and beating of the editor-in-chief of The Reporter. For almost two years following the 2005 elections, the ETC, which is also the sole telephone provider in the country, blocked mobile phone text-messaging. The government accused the Coalition for Unity and Democracy, the largest electoral opposition at the time, of coordinating anti-government demonstrations using text messages. The ETC resumed messaging service in September 2007.
- "Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation reborn as Ethio Telecom". New Business Ethiopia. December 2, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- "Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation: Historical Background" (accessed 30 April 2010)
- " $1.5 billion China telecoms deal", Ethiopian News Newsletter August, September and October, 2006 (accessed 11 January 2007)
- "One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure", p. 52. Human Rights Watch report, released 10 March 2010