Armenian ISP Cornet, which is backed by Russian telco Comstar United TeleSystems and, indirectly AFK Sistema, has said it plans to begin a large-scale deployment of WiMAX services in the country, starting in the third quarter. In an interview with the Mediamax news agency, Cornet director Boris Demirkhanian confirmed the plans saying: ‘Strengthening the facilities in Yerevan, we intend to move through the entire republic, covering those regions of Armenia where there is demand for the service. We plan to provide datacom services, internet access and to establish a distributed department and corporate nets through the WiMAX net in the most developed and densely populated towns and regional centers of Armenia’.
In October 2006 the Russian telco Comstar United TeleSystems acquired a controlling stake in Armenian telecoms operator CallNet (or Collnet as it is also known), which provides transit operator services between networks, as well as its 100% ISP subsidiary Cornet. Cornet has a fast-growing customer base, including 76% of the banking sector in Armenia. Comstar, whose main shareholder is AFK Sistema, said that the purchase of 75% plus one share of Callnet was part of an investment and expansion plan announced earlier the same month. CallNet is one of four operators in the Republic which have licences to provide transit of international traffic across Armenia. Cornet meanwhile, is the nation’s sole provider of WiMAX services.
Mr Demirkhanian went on to point out that there are currently no specific WiMAX licences in Armenia. Any company that has a licence for datacom services and permission to use the radio-frequency spectrum can establish and operate radio networks, including ones based on WiMAX technologies. Cornet is working with Alvarion to assess the capabilities and prospects of the new technology.