Armenia puts three names forward for third mobile licence

1 Sep 2008

Armenia’s Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) has shortlisted three companies – France Telecom’s Orange, Tele2 of Sweden and Ireland-based Blackrock Communications – for the country’s third mobile operating licence. The Transport and Communication Ministry Press Secretary Susanna Tonoyan told local online news portal ArmInfo that the companies must now submit formal bids within the next 40 days and the winner of the auction will be announced after the bids have been assessed. Besides cellular services, the third licensee will also be granted rights to provide internet access and, in future, WiLL-based fixed telephony services. The Ministry said 17 companies initially requested bidding documents, although only six actually submitted bids: Orange, Blackrock and Tele2, plus V-Tel, Auroratel and PJ Engineering.

The winning bidder will compete head-to-head with Armenia’s two incumbent mobile operators, ArmenTel (Beeline), which is majority owned by Russia’s VimpelCom, and K-Telecom, which trades under the brand name VivaCell and which is majority owned by Russia’s MTS). In July this year the PSRC announced its timetable for the award of the third licence. At the time the head of the PSRC’s telecoms division, Gevorg Gevorgian, said prospective wireless operators would have to offer to pay at least EUR10 million (USD16 million) for the GSM-900/1800 licence and invest a minimum EUR200 million in their network to launch the service.