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Unleashing the Power of Telecoms in Ethiopia: Winning Strategies for New Entrants

Telecom firms need to understand the unique challenges and opportunities of the Ethiopian market and adjust their strategies accordingly

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Ethiopia, one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, is becoming a promising destination for telecom firms looking to expand their business operations. With a population of over 100 million and a growing demand for telecommunications services, the country is attracting an increasing number of new entrants into its telecom industry; however, entering a new market is never easy, especially in a highly competitive sector like telecoms. As a new entrant, building a viable business in Ethiopia requires a carefully planned and executed strategy. In this article we will discuss effective strategies for new entrant telecom firms to build viable businesses in Ethiopia.

Firstly, understanding the market is crucial. Comprehensive market research is essential to understand the local market dynamics, consumer behavior, and competition. Telecom firms need to understand the unique challenges and opportunities of the Ethiopian market and adjust their strategies accordingly. It is important to develop products and services tailored to the local market needs and preferences, for example, affordable rate plans and services such as mobile money transfer.

Secondly, establishing partnerships and collaborations is crucial for success. Entering strategic partnerships with local companies can help new entrants to navigate the complex regulatory environment and overcome the challenges of doing business in a new market. Partnering with local firms can also provide access to local networks, knowledge, and resources, which can be invaluable for building a strong market position.

Thirdly, investing in network infrastructure is a key strategy for building a viable business in Ethiopia. The country has a vast and diverse geography, and building a robust network infrastructure that can cater to the needs of the entire population is crucial. Building a robust telecom infrastructure is an expensive undertaking, to say the least, and it takes a very long time, so a strategy that new entrants and existing players can use is to create a consortium that will build and maintain the telecom infrastructure for all players. This approach will reduce the cost of building and maintaining the network for everyone while allowing firms to invest in growing and expanding their network coverage and capacity to ensure they can provide reliable, high-quality services to their customers.

Fourthly, offering innovative and affordable products and services is critical to success in the Ethiopian telecom market. Ethiopians are price-sensitive, and affordability is a significant factor in their purchasing decisions. Therefore, telecom firms should focus on offering affordable packages that meet the needs and budgets of the local population. Additionally, introducing innovative products and services, such as mobile money and other value-added services, can help to differentiate telecom firms and create a unique selling proposition.

Finally, investing in talent and building a strong workforce is essential for success in Ethiopia’s telecom market, one that is often overlooked.  Telecom firms should prioritize hiring and training local talent to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to provide excellent customer service and support. Investing in employee training and development will also help to retain top talent and build a strong and motivated workforce.

In conclusion, the Ethiopian telecom market offers significant opportunities for new entrants looking to expand their business operations. However, building a viable business in the market requires a carefully planned and executed strategy that takes the unique challenges and opportunities of the local market into account. By understanding the market, establishing strategic partnerships, investing in network infrastructure, offering innovative and affordable products and services, and building a strong workforce, telecom firms can build successful and sustainable businesses in Ethiopia’s fast-growing telecom market.


By Liban Gaashaan

Managing Partner, Head of Telecom and PMO at Value X Partners

Liban led the launch of three high profile wireless telecoms companies in North America and Middle East to successful implementations. Liban specialises in modelling the customer experience system to deliver the brand promise consistently across key customer touch points whilst producing high employee engagement scores. He is a certified PMP practitioner and trainer and in this capacity has successfully delivered multi-billion dollars, multi-year public infrastructure projects in North America.

Contact him via liban.gaashaan@vlauexadvisory.com

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