We reported in early July that Djibouti was planning to open up its telecoms sector to competition. Now the country has set Thursday 16 September as the deadline for investors to express interest in taking a 40 percent stake in the incumbent operator.
But in a sign – perhaps – that the country is taking the opening up of the sector very seriously, the government has warned that Djibouti Telecom, a monopoly operator, might face competition in the near future.
Djibouti Telecom has an interest in seven subsea cables – not too surprisingly as the country is positioned on one of the world’s busiest shipping routes and hosts landing infrastructure for a total of twelve high-capacity undersea cables. The company also has stakes in an eighth cable, through the WIOCC project.
As the Capacity Media website points out, there is as yet no timetable for the sell-off once the bids have come forward, albeit those selected will be contacted and invited to submit “indicative offers”. The sale should be over by the first half of 2022.
Neighbour Ethiopia is planning a similar sell-off – 40 percent in Ethio Telecom – but is also allowing two competitors, a Safaricom-led consortium and one more, yet to be chosen, to enter the market.
In its home market, says Capacity Media, Djibouti Telecom has a 2G network covering 95 percent of the population, a 3G network covering 80 percent and a 4G network covering 75 percent.