Ethio Telecom Outlines Mobile Network Replacement Project

The state telecom monopoly, Ethio Telecom, has released a statement detailing plans to replace old mobile phone networks and install fourth generation (4G) broadband technology in Addis Abeba by June 2014.

Ethio Telecom has divided the network expansion project into three phases. The first phase replaces the network of Nokia’s telecom network in Addis Abeba, which covers atotal of 75 areas in Asko, Kolfe Keranio, Alem Bank, Mekanisa, Lebu, Jomo, Hana Mariam and Akaki. The second phase consists of replacing and expanding 647 areas of old mobile networks.The final phase is the installation of new network and 4G technology at a selected 722 areas of Addis Abeba.

Ethio Telecom is working with Chinese giants Huawei and ZTE, having in August 2013 signed a 1.6 billion dollar contract with them for the upgrade of mobile phone infrastructure and introduction of 4G broadband.

“The network replacement prioritised the Nokia areas, because the network there was installed 11 years ago and the areas were experiencing serious network problem,” said Abdurahim Ahmed, Ethio Telecom’s head of Public Relations& Communications at a press briefing about the finalisation of the network replacement at the company’s headquarters near the Black Lion Hospital along Yared Street on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.

In addition to the expansion of the network to Nokia areas, the mobile network capacity was increased from 400,000 to 1.2 million, Ethio Telecom announced.

“The new network has been installed on the lands obtained from the Addis Abeba City Administration and on the top of high rise buildings either granted for free or with reasonable prices by some of the building owners,” Abdurahim told journalists.

The remaining network replacement and expansion project for the 647 areas that were previously installed by ZTE will be finalized by June with a 4G technology installation covering the entire 722 areas.

Network replacement of the remaining 647 areas will not take much time because the project is already underway, while the network replacement in the Nokia areas was in progress, says to the communications officer.

Ethio Telecom currently has the capacity for 23 million customers, Abdurahim says, but actually has only 20 million customers at present. It blames continuous failure of mobile network in Addis Abeba on sudden electric power cuts and the theft of fibre optics.

By the end of the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP) in 2015, the company predicts that it will have a 59 million customer capacity, according to a statement issued on Wednesday. Abdurahim also said that network expansion would begin in regions outside Addis Abeba within two years.

Once the expansion project is complete, 85% of the country will have network coverage while there will be full coverage across Addis Abeba, according to the same statement.

This announcement by Ethio Telecom comes nearly two months after the state telecommunications giant announced that its revenue for the first half of the fiscal year has spiked to over 7 billion Birr.


Published on April 13, 2014 [ Vol 14 ,No 728]



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