Etisalat Nigeria has become the country’s sixth operational mobile provider with an official launch in Lagos yesterday. It will initially offer GSM services in seven cities (Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna and Ogbomosho) and plans cover the remainder of the country in phases. Known locally as ‘Mubadala’, the cellco is backed by Middle East giant Etisalat, which owns 40% of the Mubadala Development Company and its telecoms arm Emerging Markets Telecoms Services (EMTS). EMTS was granted a 15-year universal access concession in January 2007 at a price of USD400 million. Pilot services were launched over a nascent network in March this year, followed by a marketing drive which began last month. The operator’s Dubai-based investors claim to have ploughed over USD1 billion into new infrastructure.