Etisalat has announced that it has won Afghanistan’s fourth GSM licence, paying USD40.1 million for the 15-year renewable concession. According to Mohammad Hassan Omran, Chairman of the UAE-based group, his company will invest USD300 million over three years in the new operation. While the exact ownership structure of the new operator has still to be confirmed, Etisalat is expected to own between 60% and 70% of the cellco, with the remainder held by Afghani investors. Speaking at a ceremony marking the licence award, Omran said Etisalat would seek a wide presence in Afghanistan, and to this end is examining the possibility of negotiating a fixed line licence. He also confirmed that his company would be interested in acquiring Afghan Telecom, should the government choose to privatise it.