The government of Iran is thought to have awarded the country’s third national mobile licence to a consortium headed by UAE-based telco Etisalat. A report from CellularNews which cites Iran’s semi-official news agency FARS says that Etisalat has beaten off rival bids from the likes of Omantel of Oman plus MegaFon and Vimpelcom of Russia. The government has said that the new cellular operator is expected to attract investment of around USD3 billion. Iran currently has two national cellular networks run by state-backed operator TCI and private firm MTN-Irancell, which have around 40 million customers between them. Another operator, Taliya, operates a sizeable regional network which serves around 1.5 million users, while there are also at least two other localised mobile networks with only a few thousand subscribers each.
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