(Xinhua) -- Ethiopians residing outside the capital
Addis Ababa woke up to find mobile internet back working as the
service restored on Friday after five months of blackout.
The East African country on Friday
restored mobile internet service after it was terminated across
the country for the past five months, leaving majority of the
country’s population to search rare wi-fi and broadband internet
Ashenafi Yenew, a young Ethiopian in
Bahir Dar city, told Xinhua that the reopening of mobile
internet service on Friday morning “was a great surprise” for
him and residents of the city.
“Even though the move to terminate
mobile internet service was not acceptable in anyway, we
have not expected the reopening during this period of time,”
Yenew said he had expected the
recently institutionalized state of emergency rule “would rule
out the restoration of the mobile internet service in its effort
to bring order in the country.”
The East African country is currently
under a 6-month state of emergency rule that came into effect as
of February 16, a day after the resignation of the former prime
minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Solomon Dinku, a young university
student in Adama city some 100 km south of Addis Ababa, also
stressed the importance of mobile internet service for his
“Since it is very difficult to have
access to wi-fi or broadband internet service especially
during night times, we mostly depend on hard copies for our
study,” said Dinku.
The mobile internet blackout that was
occurred in November last year was not the first as Ethiopia has
faced recurrent unrest in different parts of the country since
the second half of 2016.
Ethiopia had also previously blocked
some social networking sites amid an increased unrest in some
parts of the country.
The Ethiopian government has
frequently expressed its concern that “anti-peace forces” often
use social networking platforms to disseminate false information
that targets the country’s youth population.
The block on mobile internet service
was a major concern since the majority of Ethiopians use their
mobile handsets to access the internet.
Ethiopia’s state-owned EthioTelecom
recently announced that it has more than 57 million mobile
subscribers, accounting to more than half of the country’s total
Maereg Sahlu, a tourist guide in
Lalibe town, also told Xinhua that the block on mobile internet
was a major inconvenience for many tourists.
“Tourists need mobile internet for
various purposes mainly to check maps and also communicate
with their relatives back home,” Sahlu said.
“Most of the time they were not happy
when we tell them to use other options instead of mobile
internet service,” Sahlu added.
According to Sahlu, the restoration of
mobile internet service is “a great news for us and also
tourists who come from different parts of the world.”
The five-month mobile internet
blackout, however, did not affect Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa
that is home to more than 140 diplomatic missions and the
headquarters of the African Union (AU) and the United Nations
Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The capital has not experienced
anti-government demonstrations or unrest in recent years.
Ethiopia has been reeling from
persistent deadly protests since 2016 especially in the two most
populous regional states of Amhara and Oromia over alleged
political and economic marginalization.