Oct. 12 (ESAT News) Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE, two of the largest Chinese telecommunication companies accused recently by US Congress for spying and compromising network security, have been awarded huge expansion project to be launched by the EthioTelecom.
The Minister of Information and Communication, Debretsion Gebremichael, told Bloomberg that the Chinese companies will have sizeable shares in the expansion project estimated at 1.3 billion USD. The expansion project eyes to make mobile phone technology available to 40 million subscribers by mid-2015.
According to Debretsion contracts including technical details and how the two companies divide the work between themselves would be made public within two weeks, Debretsion said.
In a damning report released on Monday, the US House Intelligence Committee accused Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE of providing “opportunities for Chinese intelligence services to tamper with U.S. telecommunications networks for spying.”
“Huawei and ZTE seek to expand in the United States, but as a result of our investigation, we do not have the confidence that these two companies with their ties to the Chinese government can be trusted with infrastructure of such critical importance,” the committee’s chairman, Michigan Republican Mike Rogers told reporters this week.
The two companies have been blamed previously for assisting the Ethiopian government in building firewalls and providing radio and satellite jamming technologies.
Ethiopia’s penetration of ICT particularly the Internet is one of the lowest in the world. Less than 1 per cent of Ethiopians have access to the Internet while only one out of eight Ethiopians has a mobile phone, which is among the lowest rates in Sub-Saharan Africa.