Armenian alternative fixed telephony and broadband services provider UCOM plans to launch a pilot 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the capital Yerevan next year, its CEO Hayk Yesayan said yesterday. In November 2013 Armenia’s Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) awarded UCOM a licence (valid until August 2018) to provide mobile services in the country, stipulating that the commercial launch should take place on or before January 2015. The company paid AMD6.3 billion (USD15.2 million) for the licence. Following the award, in May this year UCOM said it was preparing to begin the network build-out, with Yesayan noting that tenders for the construction of the network had been issued and a supplier would be selected ‘soon’. The CEO has now updated the market on progress, noting: ‘The pilot LTE network project will be started in 2015. Now we are installing base stations in the capital, where 60% of the work is already completed’. After Yerevan, the LTE network will be extended to other areas of the country and to cover the whole of Armenia by the end of 2015.
Under the terms of its concession, UCOM is allowed to provide broadband wireless internet in the capital Yerevan and surrounding areas, while within two years, it must have constructed a similar network covering 80% of districts, major highways (including Sevan, Tsakhkadzor, Jermuk and Dilijan), and 95% coverage on road links connecting Yerevan to these towns.