France Telecom (Orange) yesterday launched cellular services in the Republic of Armenia, promising to provide mobile users across the country with ‘the quality of service and innovative offers that have become the hallmark of Orange’s reputation worldwide’. The launch of the country’s third mobile operator – the market is currently a duopoly of VivaCell-MTS and ArmenTel (Beeline) – has been eagerly anticipated since Orange was awarded its licence on 19 November 2008. In its press release, the Paris-based firm said that despite the relatively high penetration rate in the country (80% at 30 June according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database), there is strong demand for its services. With a population of around 3.2 million people, including 1.1 million in the capital Yerevan, Armenia offers the FT group ‘significant growth potential’, it said.
In order to get the service off the ground, Orange has invested around EUR100 million (USD148.5 million) in the land-locked country, and going forward it intends to provide the necessary expertise and investment to ensure the development of a ‘high-quality 2G and 3G+ network offering nationwide coverage’. It is targeting population coverage of over 80%, including around 500 towns and villages, from launch.