Executives of Ethio telecom say the armed conflict in the country's north cost the state-owned enterprise 3.67 billion Br (roughly 74 million dollars at official exchange rates) over the past six months. The company held a media briefing on its half-year performance report last week, where CEO Frehiwot Tamiru revealed the monopoly had earnings of 28 billion Br over the reporting period. The figure is nearly 15pc less than initial revenue expectations, partly due to the over a year-long civil war in the north. The report also states the company has spent over 300 million Birr on efforts to rehabilitate telecom infrastructure and restore services to war-affected areas. Ethio telecom's subscriber base has surpassed the 60 million mark. The company is bracing itself for the entry of Safaricom Ethiopia Plc, which won the first-ever private telecom operator's license last year after offering 850 million dollars. The two firms are negotiating terms for an infrastructure sharing deal. One advantage the incumbent will have over its competitor is free rein in the mobile money market. Ethio telecom's Telebirr mobile money platform has managed to garner over 13 million customers since it was launched last May.
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