Orange in pole position to win Armenia’s third mobile licence

7 Oct 2008

France Telecom (Orange) is expected to be unveiled as the winner of Armenia’s third mobile operator licence, after submitting the highest bid in the ongoing tender process, government officials said on Monday. The French telco is one of three groups shortlisted in August to participate in an international tender for the third mobile concession. Local online portal Armenia Liberty reports that the government commission administering the tender disclosed the three bids in the presence of journalists yesterday. Orange is willing to pay EUR51.5 million (USD72 million) for the concession, roughly five times the state’s EUR10 million minimum asking price. The other bidders, Tele2 of Sweden and the UK-Irish group Blackrock Communications, bid EUR45.6 million and EUR31.7 million, respectively. The government is expected to announce the winner within three days, although Transport and Communications Minister Gurgen Sargsian has all but confirmed the outcome, by saying: ‘The only document on the basis of which that decision can be made is the one-page bid that specifies the price offered by a bidder for the licence … So the price is the only criterion [for choosing the winner,] and you’ve just heard it.’ The third licence winner will formally receive the licence in early December and could launch as early as summer 2009, said Sargsian

Armenia, Orange Group