Telecommunications service was introduced in Ethiopia by Emperor Menelik II in 1894 when the construction of the telephone line from Harar to the capital city, Addis Ababa, was commenced. Then the interurban network was continued to expand satisfactorily in all other directions from the capital. Many important centers in the Empire were interconnected by lines, thus facilitating long distance communication with the assistants or operators at intermediate stations frequently acting as verbal human repeaters between the distant calling parties.

Telecommunications Sector In Ethiopia (1894-1942)

In this particular period, the telecom telecom has been renamed and restructured through different stages.

  • First, the management of the service was under the Imperial Court of Menelik II in the name of the “CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION OF TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH SYSTEM OF ETHIOPIA” from 1890 up to 1907. Mr. Stevenin, a French citizen, was appointed as the General Manager of the service.
  • The service was renamed as “THE CENTRAL OFFICE OF POST, TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE (PTT) SYSTEM OF ETHIOPIA” since 1907-1909. It was administered by Emperor Menilik II’s Advisor, Mr. Al Fred Ilg, a Swiss man.
  • Then the service was renamed as “MINISTRY OF POST, TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE (PT and T)” in 1910. First, it was administered by Mr. Leo Shafno, a French citizen and then replaced by the first Ethiopian administrators Lij Gizaw Bezabih, Lij Beyene Yimer and their successors consecutively.


Under The Dergue Regime (1974-1991)

Under the Dergue regime, the Ethiopian telecommunications was renamed as follows:

  • It was renamed again as “ETHIOPIAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY (ETA) on January 1981. It retained its name as ETA up to November 1996.

At this period, the telecommunication services had made a major change of technology ranging from Automatic to Digital technology.

1942-1952 (Post War Restoration)

After the independence from the Italian occupation, the re-established Ministry of PT and T took over the running of Telephone, Telegraph and Radio communications. It, therefore, rehabilitated the network of the whole country.

               Under the Imperial Regime

The Imperial Board of Telecommunications of Ethiopia (IBTE) was established by the proclamation No. 131 on October 15, 1952

The main purpose of the Board, as stated in its establishment charter of article 5 was
“to rehabilitate, extend, repair and maintain the telecommunication facilities of Ethiopia and to engage in the business of telecommunication for profit.”

In 1960 IBTE looked after the operational matters of central Ethiopia, a Regional office was created at Addis Ababa. And at the same time, Radio Division was created separated from the receding Technical Division bringing the number of Division Offices to seven during the same period.

Under the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

The telecommunications sector was restructured and two separate independent entities namely the Ethiopian Telecommunications Authority (ETA) and the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) were established by Proclamation No. 49/1996 on November 1996.

Establishment of ethio telecom

As a continuation of the 2005/06-2009/10 five-year plan and after concentrating its efforts on education, health and agriculture, the Ethiopian government has decided to focus on the improvement of telecommunication services, considering them as a key lever in the development of Ethiopia, ethio telecom is born, on Monday 29th November 2010, from this ambition of supporting the steady growth of our country, within the Growth Transformation Plan (GTP), with ambitious objectives for 2015.