Armenian fixed and mobile operator ArmenTel, which trades under the Beeline banner of its Russian parent Vimpelcom, says that a fall in mobile voice call sales in January-March 2015 led to a 3% year-on-year drop in (cellular) service revenues for the quarter to AMD5.4 billion (USD11.2 million), although turnover derived from data increased 11% to AMD633 million. Fixed line turnover also declined, by 11%, on the back of shrinking usage from a smaller user base, and EBITDA dipped 12%, with EBITDA margin contracting 1.4 percentage points to 35% due to the overall fall in revenues. First-quarter CAPEX of AMD961 million was double the sum spent in January-March 2014, as ArmenTel closed out the quarter to more than 790,000 mobile users (up 13% y-o-y). The operator also reported an improvement in customer churn in 1Q15, which improved 1.4pp to 9.6% in the period, as the number of Beeline mobile internet users grew by 4.5%, while traffic per subscriber increased by an average of 58%.
Last month, ArmenTel confirmed that it had completed works designed to improve its GSM and W-CDMA networks in the capital Yerevan, deploying new base transceiver stations (BTS) for both 2G and 3G services in the central parts of the city, covering Komitas and the Nork-Marash administrative district. The upgrade work is intended to meet growing demand for mobile internet data as the cellular division continues to increase its subscriber base. Further, in February 2015 it announced the launch of fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) services in the capital Yerevan, and in January this year, the telco said it intends to roll out wireless broadband internet access to 376 rural communities across the country in 2015 to improve internet access. At the time, ArmenTel CEO Andrei Pyatakhin said: ‘Currently, subscribers in more than 300 villages use a fixed-wireless connection, provided through CDMA technology, because the fixed lines, some of which had been destroyed, were actually removed when we began installing CDMA.’ According to Pyatakhin, some 60,000 subscribers access telecoms services via CDMA out of a company total of more than 800,000 fixed line connections and 150,000 fixed broadband users (late-2014).