ETHIOPIA – European Satelite Operator, Eutelsat (European Organization of Telecommunications by Satellite S.A.) has expressed its interest to join the Ethiopian telecommunications sector.

The decision by Eutelsat was informed by the government’s decision to liberalize the telecommunication industry which has for a long time been a monopoly of state-run telecoms operator, Ethiotelecom.  

Managing director of Eutelsat in London, Nicholas Daly while on an interview with an Ethiopian daily said that the telecom deregulation measure taken by the government “has created an interest in the market and Eutelsat want to tap into this opportunity.”

The liberalization process, according to Daly, will impact and bring “massive changes” to the sector.

In addition to considering joining the sector, the satellite operator has plans to launch a satellite-based internet service.

According to Philippe Oliva, chief commercial officer with Eutelsat, the satellite operator is in discussions with Ethiopian officials on its proposals.

Daly also noted that Eutelsat is aware of the government’s projects to launch its own satellite to orbit which according to some Ethiopian officials will be used in telecommunication and data handling.

According to the managing director, Eutelsat operates more than 1,500 video broadcasting channels in Africa.

The MD noted that according to its market research, 4 million out of the total 5.2 million TV homes in Ethiopia use Eutelsat, mostly on the 7/8° west orbital position.

The MD also revealed Ethiopians have a particular liking for about 200 channels hosted on its site adding that the operated hosted 67 Ethiopian TV channels 47 of which are exclusive to Eutelsat.

Eutelsat has been active for 10 years and growing in the Ethiopian market.

Its satellites are used for video broadcasting, satellite newsgathering, broadband services, data connectivity, connecting airplanes and ships

Eutelsat launched a new satellite back in June and it is said that it will serve video markets in Africa, and Ethiopia will also have steerable beam in a few weeks’ time.

The satellite operator was established as a state-owned global organization in France in 1977 and was able to launch its first satellite in 1983.

It was privatized in 2001 and has a fleet of 37 satellites serving broadcasters, video service providers, telecom operators, ISPs; and government agencies operating across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.