Category: "ICT"

Ethiopian Telecom Nears Completion of Network Upgrade

July 3rd, 2009

Ethiopian Telecom Nears Completion of Network Upgrade


­Ethiopia's monopoly mobile network, the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) has finished the majority of a GSM network upgrade in the capital city region. ETC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Amare Amsalu, told local Walta Info that 80 per cent of the upgrading works began last March has already been completed.

Upgrades across the rest of the country should be completed within the next few weeks. He said the corporation is undertaking the upgrading works at 400 stations in Addis Ababa alone and similar works would be carried out in various towns across the country.

The operator has also installed some 150 diesel generators to provide backup electricity due to the unreliable national grid.

Local media reports last October suggested that the network operator had signed a US$400 million agreement for the supply of 15 million lines for its mobile networks over a 4-5 year period.

The state owned monopoly ended Q1 '09 with an estimated 2.6 million subscribers, which according to figures from the Mobile World equates to a population penetration level of just 3.2%.

Ethiopia has Africa's lowest mobile phone density - ITU

May 13th, 2009

Ethiopia has Africa's lowest mobile phone density - ITU

Ethiopia has the lowest mobile phone density, measured as number of subscribers per 100 inhabitants, in Africa, according to a report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). According to the ITU report data as of 2007, Ethiopia has just 1.45 mobile phone subscribers per 100 inhabitants, with just about 1.2 million subscribers. Egypt which has about the same population as Ethiopia has more than 30 million subscribers and neighboring Kenya with less than half the population of Ethiopia has 11 million subscribers with a mobile tele-density of 30.23.

Despite repeated announcements from Ethiopian Telecommunication reported in the media about huge infrastructure investment in Information Communication Technology (ICT) and expanding service, Ethiopia remains at the bottom of the table in Africa in ICT.

Just recently Harvard and Oxford educated economist Damisa Moyo of Zambia spoke about the dismal state of Ethiopian Telecommunication in a VOA interview. She was quoted as saying,

"In Ethiopia, she says that could be done by selling phone licenses to companies. With competition, phone rates would drop. At the same time, the government could raise revenues by taxing phone calls.

"Ethiopia," she says, "is the second-largest population in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria has about 100 million people. Ethiopia has about 90 million people. The mobile phone penetration rate is two percent in Ethiopia, so about two percent of the population has a mobile phone, compared to the average in Africa, which is about 30 percent -- One in three Africans has a phone. Compared to the fact that there are now 30 countries that have over 100 percent mobile phone penetration rates [meaning people have more than one mobile phone].

"Why am I telling this story? Because we have a lot of evidence now that mobile phones are very, very important and they can be very, very influential in terms of providing jobs and generating an income. I'll give you a specific example.

"But here we have a government [Ethiopia] with 90 million people …..that is also one of the governments that is at the G20 asking for bailout money.

Is it time to liberalize the telecom sector in Ethiopia? What must be done to improve ICT in Ethiopia. Have Your Say.

250,000 laptops for Ethiopian teachers

May 7th, 2009

250,000 laptops for Ethiopian teachers

By Groum Abate

The Ethiopian government is to distribute laptops to 250,000 teachers in Ethiopia.
A company to secure, and manage security on the new machines, which will contain sensitive date, has also been announced.

The chosen company, FullArmor, a leader in enterprise policy management, announced it will deploy Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) on laptops for Ethiopian teachers beginning in the summer of 2009 to lower costs and take advantage of advanced features on Windows 7.
FullArmor's Policy Portal will secure, configure and manage the laptops that will eventually be distributed to up to 250,000 teachers in the country.

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Ethiopia - Adama University has a new head of Information Technology

April 8th, 2009

New Head Information and Communication Technologies arrived. Dirk Tietens commenced his duties as the Head Information and Communication Technologies of Adama University in Ethiopia.

Several top positions of Adama University are filled by a tandem made of a highly qualified Ethiopian and an excellently experienced foreigner. Mr. Dirk Tietens - a Belgian IT expert - serves Adama University for a period of three years as the Head ICT and counterpart / tandem partner of Ato Samuel Addisu. Dirk Tietens brings into Adama University's ICT Center a lot of experiences from similar positions in various countries including African. For his achievements in setting up the ICT infrastructure of the Mozambique University and the development of the IT curriculum there he was awarded with the Mozambique University Honorary Doctor Degree. Mr. Tietens's vision is to fastly develop the Adama University data network and a multitude of self service and administrative support applications. He especially puts emphasis to connect the Asella Campus with the Adama Campus in a virtual private network (VPN).

Universal Internet Access in Ethiopia 4 years Later

April 8th, 2009

Universal Internet Access in Ethiopia 4 years Later

( - Four years ago on April 5, 2005, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi announced a plan to have Universal Internet Access in Ethiopia in 3 years. The Prime Minister was quoted as saying then "information technology lay at the heart of transforming the impoverished country where millions are dependent on foreign aid." He further said "We are fully committed to ensuring that as many of our poor as possible have this weapon that they need to fight poverty at the earliest possible time," Zenawi said. "We plan to ensure universal access and Internet connectivity to all the tens of thousands of rural kebeles (districts) of our country over the next two to three years."

"Not long ago many of us felt that we were too poor to afford to seriously invest in information and communication technology," Meles told government ministers and experts in April 2005.

He went on to say, "We were convinced that we should invest every penny we have on securing the next meal for our people. We did not believe serious investment in ICT had anything to do with facing the challenges of poverty that kills. Now I think we know better".

Fast forward four years later and Ethiopia is far from archiving Universal Internet Access. There are just 31,000 internet subscribers as of March 2007 (latest data available from ETC) according to the data posted on Ethiopia's Telecommunications Corporation website.

According to the World Bank data, Ethiopia has just 2 internet users per 1,000 people while Kenya has 32. Four years have passed since the ambitious plan by Ethiopia and the country remains one of the least developed in ICT sector.

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Related Links

Menelik's First Phone, and Struggle for ICT in Ethiopia (By Samuel Kinde)

Ethiopia has Africa's lowest Mobile Phones per 1000 people

No Private Telecom operator in Ethiopia at least until 2010

Special Section: ICT sector news from archives