Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) - the country's monopoly telecoms operator - says that it has completed the installation of the first phase of CDMA 2000 network infrastructure with 625,000-network capacity through vendor financing agreement with China's ZTE and has finalized preparation to make CDMA pre-paid service available to potential customers soon.
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The CDMA network will have an initial 250,000 network capacity for Addis Ababa and 375,000 network capacity for regional towns.
Concerning the CDMA tariff rates, the wireless pre-paid service will have the same tariff rates as the fixed line while the mobile telephone will have the same tariff as the GSM mobile telephone. Currently, the CDMA network will be used only for pre-paid services.
When the overall CDMA project is fully completed, the country will have a network capacity for 2.4 million customers.
ZTE recently added 1.2 million GSM lines to the network capacity to cope with demand and also a surge in usage which occurred during the recent celebration of the Ethiopian millennium. A WCDMA overlay is also planed for some parts of the network. There were several serious network failures during the upgrade work, with the mobile operator blaming ZTE for not refarming radio spectrum correctly during the commission of new base stations.
The state owned monopoly ended Q1 '08 with an estimated 1.6 million subscribers, which according to figures from the Mobile World equates to a population penetration level of just 2%.
Source: Cellular News.