TeleGeography m/cu/article.php?article_id=24831&email=html
S ept 1 2008

Armenia's Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) has shortlisted
three companies - France Telecom's Orange, Tele2 of Sweden and
Ireland-based Blackrock Communications - for the country's third mobile
operating licence. The Transport and Communication Ministry Press
Secretary Susanna Tonoyan told local online news portal ArmInfo that
the companies must now submit formal bids within the next 40 days and
the winner of the auction will be announced after the bids have been
assessed. Besides cellular services, the third licensee will also be
granted rights to provide internet access and, in future, WiLL-based
fixed telephony services. The Ministry said 17 companies initially
requested bidding documents, although only six actually submitted bids:
Orange, Blackrock and Tele2, plus V-Tel, Auroratel and PJ Engineering.

The winning bidder will compete head-to-head with Armenia's two
incumbent mobile operators, ArmenTel (Beeline), which is majority
owned by Russia's VimpelCom, and K-Telecom, which trades under the
brand name VivaCell and which is majority owned by Russia's MTS). In
July this year the PSRC announced its timetable for the award of the
third licence. At the time the head of the PSRC's telecoms division,
Gevorg Gevorgian, said prospective wireless operators would have
to offer to pay at least EUR10 million (USD16 million) for the
GSM-900/1800 licence and invest a minimum EUR200 million in their
network to launch the service.