United Arab Emirates operator Etisalat said Tuesday it has struck an agreement to buy 45 per cent of Indian mobile operator Swan Telecom for $900m in cash.

Swan is a recently licensed GSM mobile operator in India, holding Universal Access Service (UASL) licenses in 13 telecom service areas, and is in the process of acquiring licenses in an additional two service areas.

Etisalat said the licenses will allow Swan to provide GSM services covering a population of over 900 million across India.

The remaining 55 per cent of the shares in Swan are held by several entities, including Dynamix Balwas, a Mumbai-based real estate and hospitality business group.

Mohammad Hassan Omran, chairman of Etisalat, said: “Our entry in India, one of the largest and fastest growing mobile markets in the world today, marks an acceleration of our expansion strategy and brings to us an opportunity which matches the scale of our ambitions.’