Friday, June 24, 2005

Finally, Another Mobile Phone Operator in Armenia

RFE/RL also reports that Armenia will finally be getting a second mobile phone operator. The Lebanese owned K-Telecom that is already operating in the self-declared Republic of Nagorno Karabagh will launch their new service on 1 July. Finally, ArmenTel -- the much hated Greek owned telecommunications monopoly -- will have some competition in Armenia although already, the damage has been done.
The ArmenTel monopoly is widely blamed for the fact that Armenia has lagged behind neighboring Azerbaijan and Georgia in the development of mobile telephony. The high cost and poor quality of the service led the Armenian government last year to renegotiate one of the key terms of ArmenTel’s 1998 sale to OTE which resulted in the partial liberalization of the market.
In April 2005, there were approximately 200,000 mobile phone subscribers in Armenia. In comparison, the neighboring republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan had over 1 million and 1.5 million subscribers respectively -- and both with more than one company operating in the market. Most regions of these countries are covered by their mobile phone network while coverage in Armenia is small and mainly confined to the capital where reception is attrocious.

The full article can be read online here.

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