Ethio telecom

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Ethio telecom
PredecessorEthiopian Telecommunications Corporation
Area served
Key people
Frehiwot Tamiru, CEO,
H.E. Mr. Tefera Derebew, Chairman of the Board,
H.E. Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, Minister of MCIT
ServicesMobile, Fixed line and Broadband
Revenue36 Billion[1] (2018/19)
12.4 Billion
5.7 Billion
Number of employees
22,288 Edit this on Wikidata

Ethio telecom, previously known as the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC), is an integrated telecommunications services provider in Ethiopia, providing internet and telephone services. Ethio telecom is owned by the Ethiopian government and maintains a monopoly over all telecommunication services in Ethiopia.[2] Based in Addis Ababa, it is one of the "Big-5" group of state owned corporations in Ethiopia, along with Ethiopian Airlines, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Ethio-Insurance, and the Ethiopian Shipping Lines.[3]

Ethio telecom was managed, on a management contract arrangement from 2010 to 2013 June, by France Télécom, and was required to comply with Ethiopian Government orders.[4] 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 telecommunications services would not be privatized, at least not in the near future.[5] Ethio telecom generates a revenue of over US$300 million for the Ethiopian government, and was dubbed a "cash cow" by the previous Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.[6]


Ethio Telecom building and antenna mast in Mekelle

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 in October 1975, which was in turn reorganized in January 1981 as the Ethiopian Telecommunications Authority. In 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 the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean satellites.[7]

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.[8] In 2018, the mobile service business has reached 85% of the country. In February 2018, it was reported that Ethio Telecom had 64.4 million subscribers making it the largest telecommunication services operator in the continent. The operator runs three terrestrial fiber optic cables with a capacity of 42 Gbit/s to connect Ethiopia to the rest of the world via Kenya, Djibouti and Sudan.[9] In August 2019, the company announced that it will install 4G network before other telecom companies enter the Ethiopian market since the government decided that it will liberalize the telecom sector. [10]


According to reports by the OpenNet Initiative and Freedom House, the Ethiopian government through Ethio telecom imposes nationwide, politically motivated internet filtering.[11] Under a 2012 law regulating the telecommunication industry, attempts by journalists to circumvent Ethio telecom surveillance and censorship of the internet could be interpreted as a criminal offense carrying a prison sentence of up to 15 years.[12]

Most blocked sites are those run by Ethiopians in the diaspora who are highly critical of the government, however, Ethio telecom 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, Ethio telecom, 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. Ethio telecom resumed messaging service in September 2007.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aregay, Daniel. "Telecom CEO replaced by erstwhile deputy of ETC". The Reporter Ethiopia. Brook Abdu. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  2. ^ Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA World Factbook 2014. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 1628734515. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  3. ^ Kebede, Ezana. "Privatization and its challenges in Ethiopia". Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  4. ^ Committee to Protect Journalists (2013). Attacks on the press journalism on the world's front lines (2013 ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley. ISBN 9781118611371. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation reborn as Ethio telecom". New Business Ethiopia. December 2, 2010. Archived from the original on February 6, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ "Out of reach:Telecoms in Ethiopia". The Economist. August 24, 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation: Historical Background" Archived 2010-03-08 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 30 April 2010)
  8. ^ " $1.5 billion China telecoms deal", Ethiopian News Newsletter August, September and October, 2006 (accessed 11 January 2007)
  9. ^ AfricaNews. "Ethiopia's sole telecoms outfit gets female CEO: Frehiwot Tamiru | Africanews". Africanews. Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  10. ^ "Ethiopia to install 4G network ahead of telecoms liberalization". Reuters. 2019-08-30. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  11. ^ "Ethiopia". Freedom on the net 2012. Freedom House. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Ethiopian law criminalizes independent telecom use". Committee to Protect Journalists. June 15, 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  13. ^ "One Hundred Ways of Putting Pressure", p. 52. Human Rights Watch report, released 10 March 2010

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