January 13, 2009 / 6:28 AM / 11 years ago

Emirates Telecom to pay $402 mln for Iran licence

DUBAI, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Emirates Telecommunications Corp ETEL.AD (Etisalat) said on Tuesday a consortium it is part of would pay 300 million euros ($402.1 million) to acquire a mobile phone licence in Iran and was in talks to buy an operator in Iraq.

The group would invest at least $1 billion into building infrastructure in Iran and was looking to begin operations within nine months, possibly earlier, said Jamal al-Jarwan, chief executive of Etisalat International Investments.

The firm hopes to get at least 1 million subscribers in the first year of operations, Jarwan told Reuters in an interview.

“Mobile penetration is 60 percent and we see Iran as a growing market,” Jarwan said.

Etisalat Chief Financial Officer Salem Ali al-Sharhan added that the operator was also in discussions to acquire an existing operator in Iraq.

Reporting by John Irish; editing by Daliah Merzaban

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