France Telecom (Orange) aims to launch its new Armenian operation in autumn 2009, its CEO Didier Lombard is quoted as saying in an interview with the Armenia President, Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Mr Lombard announced only scant details of the French firm’s rollout plan, but did say that he expected the new services would be ‘in demand’.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, the French heavyweight was unveiled as the winner of Armenia’s third mobile operator licence in October 2008, after submitting the highest bid in the ongoing tender process. The French telco was one of three groups shortlisted in August that year to participate in an international tender for the third mobile concession. Orange tendered roughly 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.