Rather complex telecom intersections

5G’s Next Stop: Is Huawei’s Ethiopian Ambition Dead On Arrival?

By  |  January 27, 2021

Africa’s telecoms industry is a big whale in an even bigger pond. Our most educated guess is: every telecoms expert, businessperson, or industry insider has heard of the continent’s potential when it comes to that market.

This is a major reason both local and foreign players are in the game to enable people to remotely interact.  A continent of over 1.2 billion people, some of whom are still waiting to get connected, paints quite the picture. 

Because there’s yay big ROI up for grabs, words like 5G, telecoms liberalization, cybersecurity, Ethiopia, Huawei, Helios Towers, and telecoms liberalization begin to frequently intersect. In fact, that string of words makes the shortest debrief for the status report in the faraway Land of 13 Months of Sunshine.

In Ethiopia, there’s an ongoing plan to open up what is one of the world’s last closed telecoms industries. The billion-dollar opportunity is why UK-headquartered Helios Towers—whose operation mainland is Africa—attempted to set up shop. It’s the same reason Shenzhen-based Huawei is also trying to grow its presence in the East African country. 

In late December 2020, Huawei Technologies Corp revealed it is warming up to join the Ethiopian telecoms run. Though it’s basically a brilliant idea, there is quite a rough mix of factors at play. Unless there’s a Herculean in the works, these intersections plot ...

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