Etisalat says it will invest up to $5 billion, over five years in Iran after winning the country's third mobile phone licence.
Etisalat's chairman, Mohammed Hassan Omran said his company had 10bn dirhams ($2.72 billion) in cash reserves deposited with banks in the United Arab Emirates.
Etisalat claims it won exclusive rights to provide 3G services and intended to attract at least 1 million subscribers in the first year of operation.
Iran has a mobile penetration rate of less than 60 per cent in a market where about half of its 70 million population is under 25 years of age.
Telkom, South Africa's biggest fixed-line phone operator, is forging forged ahead with plans to expand into the rest of Africa with the $130 million acquisition of the remaining 25% of its fast-growing Nigerian subsidiary, Multi-Links.
Through the transaction, Telkom hopes to raise its market share from 3% to 10%. Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, has a mobile penetration rate of about 30% and operators from South African, Middle Eastern and Europe are all scrambling to establish themselves there.