Etisalat has begun operations in Afghanistan, launching a GSM-based network with coverage of the country’s main cities. According to the UAE-based telco, it has invested USD300 million in the new infrastructure to give coverage of Kabul, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz and Jalalabad. The cities and areas of Kandahar, Ghazni, Poli Khumri, Baghlan and Paghman will have coverage before the end of September.
In May 2006 Etisalat agreed to pay USD40.1 million for Afghanistan’s fourth GSM licence, matching the price paid by rival Areeba. The licence is valid for 15 years and is renewable. The company is expected to focus on low-tech voice and data services.