MTC poised to block ArmenTel’s request for hefty hike in phone tariffs

10 Jul 2007

Armenia’s Public Services Regulation Commission (PSRC) is expected to reject a proposal from national fixed line incumbent operator ArmenTel, now owned by Russian wireless heavyweight Vimpelcom, to impose a significant price rise on the cost of voice telephony services. In May ArmenTel submitted a formal request to the PSRC asking for permission to raise voice telephony tariffs which it says have remained the same for several years despite ongoing rising operational costs. ArmenTel is requesting a near doubling of the current AMD1,100 (USD3) it charges customers per month on a call plan giving them up to six hours worth of inclusive local calls. In addition, the operator is requesting a cut in the six-hour limit and permission to raise the per minute cost of subsequent calls made by users exceeding their limit, from AMD5 to AMD9 per minute. However, a spokesperson for the PSRC, Shiraz Kirakosian, said that it had reviewed ArmenTel’s proposal but would most likely decline it officially (on Friday) citing a belief that the operator had underestimated its profit margins, as the reason. Nevertheless, the PSRC is said to be keen to continue discussions to find a satisfactory compromise.

Armenia, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Team Telecom Armenia (formerly Beeline)