Telecommunications in Armenia

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Telecommunications
Republic of Armenia
Flag of Armenia.svg
LocationArmenia.svg
Exquisite-Modem.png Landlines (2008): 650,000[1]
Phone-motorola-v3i.svg Mobile lines (2009): 2.8 million[2]
ccTLD: .am
Calling code: +374

This article is about telecommunications systems in Armenia.

Mobile[edit]

As of June 2014, Armenia has 3.3 million subscribers in total, and a 120% penetration rate.

Rank Operator Technology Subscribers
(in millions)
Ownership
1 Viva Cell MTS GSM-900/1800 MHz (GPRS, EDGE)
2100 MHz UMTS, HSDPA
2600 MHz LTE
2.1 (June 2014) MTS
2 Beeline GSM-900/1800 MHz (GPRS, EDGE)
2100 MHz UMTS, HSDPA
0.7 (June 2014) VimpelCom
3 Orange GSM-900/1800 MHz (GPRS, EDGE)
2100 MHz UMTS, HSDPA
0.5 (June 2014) Orange S.A.

There are three mobile phone operators currently in Armenia: Viva Cell MTS, Orange and Beeline. Orange and Beeline only offer 2G and 3G services. Viva Cell MTS offers both 2G and 3G as well as 4G services. All three networks are widely modern and reliable with shops located in major towns and cities where one can purchase a sim card or get assistance if needed. Most unlocked mobile phones are able to be used on roaming however network charges apply. Orange and Viva Cell MTS are often recommended to tourists due to the variety of tariffs available and the help available in a variety of languages.[3]

Headquarters of VivaCell MTS, Armenia's leading mobile services provider
A window display at Orange's flagship Northern Avenue branch advertises various smartphones and a 3G Internet WiFi router. In November 2009, Orange became Armenia's third mobile telecommunications provider, offering a very competitively priced 3G Internet plan.
A Beeline service store on Amiryan Street in downtown Yerevan

As of 2012, approximately 90% of all main lines are digitized and provide excellent quality services for the region.[citation needed] The remaining 10% is in modernization process.

International system[edit]

Yerevan is connected to the Trans-Asia-Europe fiber-optic cable via Georgia. Additional international service is available by microwave radio relay and landline connections to other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Moscow international switch and by satellite.[1] Main backbones of Armenian networks are made by E3 or STM-1 lines via microwave units across whole country with many passive retranslations.

Radio[edit]

As of 2008, Armenia has 9 AM stations, 17 FM stations, and one shortwave station. Additionally, there are approximately 850,000 radios in existence.[1] Primary network provider is TRBNA

Television[edit]

Armenia has 48 private television stations alongside 2 public networks with major Russian channels widely available throughout the country.[1] In year 2008 TRBNA upgraded main circuit to digital distribution system based on DVB-IP and MPEG2 standards. According to Television Association Committee of Armenia, TV penetration rate is 80% according to 2011 data.

Internet[edit]

There are approximately 1,400,000 Internet users and approximately 65,279 Internet hosts in Armenia.[1] The country code (Top level domain) for Armenia is .am, which has been used for AM radio stations and for domain hacks.[4]

Armentel's (the national communications company's) only fiber optic connection to the Internet enters Armenia through Georgia (via Marneuli)[5] and then connects to the rest of the Internet via an undersea fiber-optic cable in the Black Sea.[6] Armenia is connected to the Trans-Asia-Europe fiber-optic cable system via Georgia, which runs along the railroad from Poti to Tbilisi to the Armenian border near Marneuli.[7] At Poti, the TAE cable connects to the undersea Georgia-Russia system KAFOS which then connects to the Black Sea Fiber Optic Cable System.[8] The BSFOCS is co-owned by Armentel.[9]

Dial-up[edit]

A major way of connecting to the Internet used to be dial-up. This was caused by very high prices of Internet access, and only very few people could use other types of connections until Beeline, Vivacell MTS and Orange started selling portable USB-modems. The average price for one hour of dial-up Internet access was about 48 cents, plus 20 cents for using phone line (summary 68 cents per hour).[citation needed][10]

Broadband[edit]

As of March 2010, it is estimated that there are about 100,000 broadband subscribers in Armenia.[11]

ADSL[edit]

DSL connectivity is offered by Beeline, Cornet, Arminco, and others.

A Ucom service store in Yerevan's Arabkir district

WiMAX[edit]

  • Cornet launched a nationwide network in Yerevan and 18 biggest cities of Armenia. It uses 802.16e protocol in the 3.6-3.8 GHz frequency diapason. It provides 27 Mbit/sec speed.[12]
  • Armenian ISP Icon Communications has selected Alcatel-Lucent to design, deploy and maintain a commercial WiMAX 802.16e-2005 (Rev-e) network in Armenia.[13]

FTTH[edit]

  • Ucom telecom company has built up the first FTTH (Fiber to the home) Network in Armenia providing convergent Triple play services including Internet, IPTV and Digital Phone services.

Censorship[edit]

  • Listed as engaged in substantial filtering in the political area and selective filtering in the social, conflict/security, and Internet tools areas by the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) in November 2010.[14]

Access to the Internet in Armenia is largely unfettered, although evidence of second and third-generation filtering is mounting. Armenia’s political climate is volatile and largely unpredictable. In times of political unrest, the government has not hesitated to put in place restrictions on the Internet as a means to curtail public protest and discontent.[14] According to Article 11 of the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Police, law enforcement has the right to block content to prevent criminal activity.[15]

Armenia's internet access is delivered by Russian providers, occasionally resulting in censorship by Russian ISPs. In 2012 Russian authorities blocked kavkazcenter.com, resulting in it being blocked in Armenia.[16] In 2014 five other websites were blocked due to filtering by the Russian telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor. ISPs claimed the blocks were due to technical error and were removed.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e CIA World Factbook, 2009: Armenia
  2. ^ Internet Society of Armenia - Statistics
  3. ^ http://www.akep.al/images/stories/AKEP/statistika/Treguesit-Statistikore-6_Mujori-I-re-2011.pdf
  4. ^ Country_code_top-level_domain#Commercial_and_vanity_use
  5. ^ Fiber Optic Cable Damage in Georgia, Arminco, June 5, 2008.
  6. ^ ARMENIA SUFFERS WIDESPREAD INTERNET OUTAGE, EurasiaNet, August 7, 2006.
  7. ^ GEORGIA’S FUNCTION AS A TRANSIT COUNTRY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies.
  8. ^ Black Sea Fiber Optic Cable System: Connectivity, Black Sea Fiber Optic Cable System.
  9. ^ BSFOCS: Owners, Black Sea Fiber Optic Cable System.
  10. ^ Pearce, Katy. "Armenian Media Landscape Formative Research for the Alternative Resources in Media Program". Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Internet Society of Armenian - Statistics
  12. ^ "Comstar Launches National Wimax Network In Armenia". 
  13. ^ "Armenia's Icon to deploy WiMAX network with Alcatel-Lucent". 
  14. ^ a b "ONI Country Profile: Armenia", OpenNet Initiative, 17 November 2010
  15. ^ Official Bulleting No 15(147) of 31 May 2001
  16. ^ "Armenia Subject to Censorship from Russia", Media.am, 25 December 2012. Retrieved on 14 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Freedom on the Net 2014: Armenia", Freedom House. Retrieved on 14 December 2014.

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2010 edition".

External links[edit]