Ethiopia’s state-run telecoms, Ethio Telecom, has launched a fourth generation (4G) mobile service in the capital, Addis Ababa. They plan to catch up with high-speed connections available in some east African countries like Kenya and Uganda.

According to World Bank, Africa’s telecoms industry rose from 25 million in 2001 subscribers to 650 million subscribers in 2013.

Ethiopia is one of the last African countries to have a state monopoly in telecoms. With the new network upgrade to 4G, it is certain to have left some countries lagging behind. Users can now browse the Internet more easily and run complex application, compared to the 3G era.

In the bid to expand mobile infrastructure throughout Ethiopia, the 4G service, initially able to serve 400,000 subscribers, is part of a $1.6 billion deal signed two years ago with Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE.

In a statement to Reuters, Ethio Telecom’s Head of Communications Abdurrahim Ahmed said “The 4G network had taken eight months to build. And internet packages would range from 420 birr ($21) a month for 2 gigabyte (GB) of data to 3,600 birr ($180) for 30 GB.”

Though a reasonable part of Ethiopia, including the capital, still suffers from occasionally patchy mobile reception, the $1.6 billion project also aims to also double 3G capacity to 60 million subscribers by the end of the year in the country with over 90 million population.

Image credit:itpro

Bolade Popoola Author

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