Cellular-News, UK
Aug 31 2008

Three Firms Shortlisted for Armenian Mobile License


Three companies, Orange, Tele2 and Ireland based Blackrock
Communications have been shortlisted for Armenia's 3rd mobile operator
license. A statement from the Transportation and Communication
Ministry said that although 17 companies applied for the tender
documents, only six companies submitted a bid, Orange, CEO Blackrock
Communications, V-Tel, Tele2, Auroratel and PJ Engineering.

The three companies now have forty days to submit their formal bids
and the winners should be announced within a few weeks of the closing
date.

Armenia currently has two mobile networks, Armentel (majority owned by
Russia's VimpelCom) and VivaCell (majority owned by Russia's
MTS). Russia's other main operator, Megafon had been regularly cited
as the certain winner of the tender - so the shortlist has proven to
be a surprise.

Armenia's Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) announced the
tender last month and said that there will be a reserve price of US$16
million for the license and the winner will be required to invest a
minimum of US$320 million in the network rollout.

The two incumbent operators have confirmed that they will launch 3G
services shortly.

Figures from the Mobile World show that the country ended last year
with a shade under 3 million subscribers - representing a population
penetration level of 61%.

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