UAE-based Emirates Telecommunications (Etisalat) is reportedly close to buying 26 per cent in India’s second largest telecom operator Reliance Communications. According to people close to the development, the deal is estimated to be worth $3 billion. Moreover, the two groups are also said to be considering a merger of Reliance Communications with Swan Telecom, the Indian company in which Etisalat holds a 45 per cent stake. Etisalat can buy a stake in Reliance Comm only after divesting its current holding in Swan Telecom, as Indian regulations do not allow a single company to own more than than a 10 per cent stake in two telecom groups. With this deal, Etisalat would be successful enough to step up in the world’s fastest-growing and most lucrative mobile market with over 600 million subscribers. The Anil Ambani firm has reported the addition of 2.8 million new wireless subscribers in June this year, taking its total subscriber base to 110 million. The deal is expected to be completed as soon as mid-August, and some says it could take up to the end of the year.