No explanation was provided by Ethiopia’s officials for deactivating its state-owned mobile internet service on Tuesday.
Zadig Abrha, the deputy communications minister made the following statement to AFP, “Mobile data has been deactivated,” and then declined to make any further comments.
It has been over a decade since Ethiopia has been blue-penciling its internet service.
This is the second time that Ethiopia has turned off its mobile data service, which most businesses and consumers depend on to access the internet.
The data service of Ethiopia’s sole telecommunications provider was deactivated for weeks during last year in the midst of an anti-government protest. The protest has since been repressed using a state of emergency that is effective from October 2016.
The deactivation of the country’s mobile service occurred as students are sitting their exams.
However, commencing last year, the government temporarily blocked social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter after test questions were leaked online.
Ethiopia hosts both the headquarters of the African Union and the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa. Officials from both institutions said their internet was deactivated on Tuesday afternoon but returned Wednesday.
While Ethiopian’s local citizens were still unable to connect via their phones or modems, which use mobile SIM cards.
Written by Stacey Fowler