Saturday, September 23, 2023
BusinessTelecom Chief vows to 'do necessary work' to get internet unblocked

Telecom Chief vows to ‘do necessary work’ to get internet unblocked

The CEO of state-owned telecom giant ethio telecom says her office will do the “necessary work” to push for the end of social media restrictions, acknowledging the decision still is beyond her control.

Telecom Chief vows to 'do necessary work' to get internet unblocked | The Reporter | #1 Latest Ethiopian News Today

Frehiwot Tamiru told Parliament the social media curbs create “disappointing experiences” for ethio telecom’s customers and argued the operator would work to resolve the issue.

Following protests by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians in February 2023, the government blocked Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and Telegram, among other platforms.

To circumvent restrictions, telecom users in Ethiopia have turned to virtual private network (VPN) apps, which Frehiwot said creates a poor customer experience.

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The CEO made the comments in response to questions from MPs about ethio telecom customers’ growing use of VPNs to access the internet despite restrictions.

Frehiwot was presenting the company’s performance for the first nine months of Ethiopia’s current fiscal year when she received queries on the issue.

“Lifting the restrictions is not under ethio telecom’s mandate,” Firehiwot said. “When the relevant government entity allows access without VPNs, we will comply. The body that blocked the platforms had its reasons for doing so.”

Frehiwot, however, pledged that ethio telecom would do what it could to get the restrictions lifted.

“We want to provide a better experience for our customers,” says Frehiwot, adding the current restrictions are having the opposite effect.

The telecom’s mobile money platform, telebirr, is widely used for automating transactions for fuel and other goods. However, the platform does not function on devices connected to VPNs.

“We recognize that VPN usage is inhibiting telebirr’s performance,” Firehiwot acknowledged.

The state-owned telecom giant generated revenue of 52.7 billion birr during the first nine months of the current fiscal year as well as USD 103 million in foreign exchange revenue, Frehiwot told lawmakers.

Subscribers to its mobile money platform, telebirr, reached 30.5 million since it began operations two years ago, transacting close to 395 billion birr in value, she said.

52.7 billion birr

Three quarters revenue

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