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Etisalat plans July Afghan launch

UAE telco will offer low-tech voice and text services in the war-torn country.

UAE telco Etisalat is to launch in Afghanistan by the end of June, according to Gulf News today.

Mohammad Al Qamzi, chief executive officer of etisalat, told the paper that focus would be on low-tech voice and text services in the war-ravaged country.

"Etisalat Afghanistan offers mobile services with 2G and plans to introduce its services in the first half of this year," he said.

Analysts say the move will improve the company’s bottom line only marginally. Walaa Hazem, analyst at HC Securities and Investment in Cairo, said revenues from the country would make up just one to two % of its overall operating income in three to four years.

"It's a very fragmented market and they are the fifth operator over there. We are also speaking about a country with a very low GDP per capita," he said.

However, at $40 million for the licence, it was a ‘cheap acquisition’ he said, adding that the company was likely to ‘make money in the long run.’

The company became Egypt’s third mobile network last week, and the first to launch 3G in the North African country.