Telecom Struggles In Spite of Investment




Dear editors,

Since the beginning of September 2014 rumors were heard about the coming of Swedish telecom giant Ericsson, to take part in the Telecom Expansion Project (TEP), which lagged behind schedule, since the very beginning in 2013.

In November the rumor became headlines in different newspapers across the country, that Ericsson was soon to sign the agreement with Ethio telecom for the TEP, which was signed in August 2013 between the sole operator, Ethio telecom, and two Chinese telecom companies, ZTE and Huawei.

The negotiation between Ericsson and the operator that lasted over half a year seems to have come to an agreement, though neither the operator nor Ericsson confirmed this.

Yet, it is being said that Ericsson is going to take over some circles of the first lot that were given to ZTE. The project is divided into five lots (wireless, access network, backbone, transmission and security domain).

But the issue of inefficient coordination on the Ethio telecom side, in terms of project implementation, remains a problem. The addition of another equipment provider will worsen the problem.

While the operator has dealt with Ericsson to discuss how to accelerate the project, Huawei is pressured to reach the Key Performance Index (KPI) for the capital network, as contracted. Decision is not yet made by the operator due to management differences.

Even though the 1.6 billion dollar project was expected to be completed in 2015, its implementation of six circles (south part and south-west part of the country) has not yet started since the stagnant negotiations.

Ethiopian telecom is a sector for which the state allocates a large budget. Within just a decade, the country has invested over 15 billion dollars (10pc of the gross domestic product) to information and communication technology (ICT).

But the development of telecommunication is neither as fast as the public expected, nor of the quality required. It is disappointing that the country’s mobile and internet penetration still remains the lowest in the world, only surpassing that of Eritrea, despite huge investment.

Alemayehu Gizachew

alexg1935@yahoo.com



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