Mobile network operator (MNO) U!com, formerly Orange Armenia, says it is looking to expand its LTE-A network coverage to 88% by 31 March 2018. Marketed as ‘4G+’ the cellco’s advanced services are currently within range to some 80% of the population, according to its CEO Hayk Yesayan, aiming to hit its new coverage target before 1 April next year. ‘New generation smartphones can use three basic stations’ data at once, which makes it possible to triple speed in mobiles retaining the high quality of access even when users move,’ Yesayan said, adding that its LTE-A infrastructure can support peak speeds of up to 250Mbps, with typical average mobile internet speeds currently ‘more than 60Mbps’.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in March 2016 U!com parent, Armenian broadband provider Ucom, announced the signing of the 4G LTE supply contract with Ericsson, including plans to invest USD20 million in 2016 alone. Ultimately, the altnet’s 4G network will cover more than 95% of the Armenian population, with initial base stations being deployed in Yerevan (from September 2016) and the regions. Ucom is looking to spend around AMD131.7 billion (USD270 million) in the three-year period 2016-2018, of which AMD38.3 billion was allocated for 2016, AMD44.1 billion in the second year of the programme and AMD49.3 billion in the third.