Armenian mobile network operator (MNO) VivaCell-MTS has formally announced that it has changed its registered company name from K-Telecom closed joint stock company (JSC) to MTS Armenia closed JSC, although it also confirmed that it will continue to trade under the VivaCell-MTS brand for the time being. The cellco is currently the largest player in the local market by subscribers, ahead of ArmenTel (Beeline) and U!com (formerly Orange Armenia). In September 2007 Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) purchased an 80% indirect stake in VivaCell-MTS from Karabakh Telecom (K-Telecom), paying over USD400 million to K-Telecom’s Lebanese parent company, the Fattouch Investment Group. MTS has a call option on the remaining 20% of VivaCell, but has not taken this up yet. VivaCell-MTS manager Ralph Yirikian explained: ‘By the time it joined MTS Group in September 2007, VivaCell-MTS had already been the country’s leader in terms of the number of subscribers, providing the population of Armenia with a wide range of innovative telecommunication services at affordable and competitive tariffs … The use of the group’s name in the name of the company is the next logical step in the integration of VivaCell-MTS with the MTS Group.’
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