Armenian fixed and mobile operator ArmenTel, which trades under the Beeline banner of its Russian parent Vimpelcom, plans to roll out a fourth generation mobile network in the country before the end of this year, according to its CEO Andrei Pyatakhin, although he declined to provide further details of the launch schedule. TeleGeography notes that the operator has made no secret of its desire to offer 4G services based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technologies, but is currently risking losing ground to rival VivaCell-MTS, whose own 4G network has been live since December 2011. Moreover, its larger rival also boasts significant advantages in having nationwide coverage for dual carrier (DC)-HSPA+ services (i.e. maximum 42Mbps), while ArmenTel is limited to a relatively poor 3.6Mbps (maximum) option. In March 2010 ArmenTel’s Russian parent Vimpelcom confirmed it was planning to roll out LTE in Armenia, following successful trials over a test network in Kazakhstan. At the time the firm’s managing director Igor Klimko said: ‘It is very important to note that the decision on frequency harmonisation, in which the LTE net construction will be permitted in Armenia, will also have an impact on our plans. We think that frequencies within 700MHz-800MHz harmonisation will be optimal.’
For its part, the country’s number three cellco, Orange Armenia, said earlier it had no plans to introduce this technology and would put an emphasis on the development of the existing 3G network and increasing its capacity.