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Ethiopia-Eritrea phone lines reopen, first time since 1998

Ethiopia-Eritrea phone lines reopen, first time since 1998


Ethiopia has restored telephone services with neighbouring Eritrea, the state-owned operator confirmed on Tuesday.

In a text message to its 57 million plus customers, Ethio Telecom said: ““Ethiopia Telecoms announces with happiness the restoration of telephone service to Eritrea.”

The operator’s move ends two decades of severed service which came on the heels of a peace deal signed by leaders of the two formerly hostile but now neighbourly countries.

The last time subscribers were able to place calls to Eritrea was in 1998. Many people expressed excitement at the possibility after years.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki in Asmara with the two declaring an end to their twenty year old war and restoring all ties between them – economic, diplomatic, security etc.

As part of the process, Ethiopian Airlines has announced that it will resume daily flights to the Eritrean capital, Asmara.

Ethio Telecom’s network capacity currently stands at 62 million mobile subscribers, 3 million fixed line users with a mobile service coverage of 85%. Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous nation behind Nigeria and the numbers are believed to have played a significant part.

They also boast a vast fiber route that allows optical fiber network coverage as well as an International Gateway Capacity; 42 Gbps (including 3 Terrestrial Route through Djibouti, Sudan & Kenya and a satellite back up).

The East African country is an economic powerhouse in the region having surpassed neighbouring Kenya to become the biggest economy in the region. Their economic strides have received praise of international lenders like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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