FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past an Ethio Telecom office in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa

INTERNATIONAL –  State-owned Ethio Telecom, a potential candidate for privatisation, generated 36.3 billion Ethiopian birr ($1.26 billion) in revenue during the last financial year, a company report said on Tuesday, a 7 percent rise on the previous year.

Multinational firms are eyeing a slice of the telecom provider after Ethiopia’s parliament passed a law last month to liberalise the telecommunications sector, opening up one of Africa’s last remaining state-controlled telecoms markets.

France’s Orange, MTN of South Africa, Britain’s Vodafone Group, the UAE’s Etisalat and Zain of Kuwait are among the companies that have expressed an interest in the firm.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were 24.5 billion birr, the report said. No figure was given for the previous year.

“Drastic tariff discounts ranging from 40-50 percent  have been made in all products and services with the aim of ensuring affordability, enhancing service usage and customer satisfaction,” the report said.

The cuts increased data usage by 130 percent  and voice calls by 19 percent, the report said.

Ethiopia’s financial year runs from July-June.