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Kenya's Safaricom plans joint bid with Vodacom for Ethiopia licence

NAIROBI, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Kenya's largest telecoms operator Safaricom plans a joint bid with South Africa's Vodacom for one of two Ethiopian telecoms licences that will be offered next year, its acting chief executive said on Friday.

Michael Joseph said the company, partly owned by Vodacom and Britain's Vodafone, had not made up its mind about another option of entering the lucrative Ethiopian market through partial privatisation of state monopoly Ethio Telecom.

Firms which want to secure the licences have to come with deep pockets, Joseph said, citing the expected cost of acquiring the spectrum.

"You have to bid for the spectrum. There is talk about it and it is in the billion dollar range, just for the licence," he told Reuters after the firm released its first half results.

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Susan Fenton)