Etisalat plans US$5bn Iran investment

Emirates Telecommunications expects to invest up to US$5 billion (Dh18.36bn) over five years in its Iran operations.

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Emirates Telecommunications expects to invest up to US$5 billion (Dh18.36bn) over five years in its Iran operations after winning the country's third mobile phone licence, its chairman said today. "We will invest $4bn to $5bn in the Iranian operation in five years," Mohammed Hassan Omran said at an economic conference in Saudi Arabia. In December Iran awarded Etisalat the third mobile licence operator in the country, after it submitted the highest bid. Etisalat is the Arab world's second largest telecommunications firm by market value. The two existing operators in Iran are the state telephone company and Irancell, a firm that is 49 percent owned by MTN Group, sub-Saharan Africa's biggest mobile firm. Iran has a mobile penetration of less than 60 percent in a market where about half of its 70 million people are under 25 years of age. Etisalat, which operates in 18 countries, is part of a wave of Gulf Arab telecom operators that have launched overseas operations after losing their monopolies at home. * Reuters