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.

Telephone[edit]

Armenia has 2.8 million subscribers in total, or an 86% penetration rate.

Rank Operator Technology Subscribers
(in millions)
Ownership
1 Viva Cell MTS GSM-900/1800 (GPRS, EDGE)
2100 MHz UMTS, HSDPA
2600 MHz LTE
2.0 (February 2013) MTS
2 Orange GSM-900/1800 (GPRS, EDGE)
900 MHz UMTS, HSDPA
0.7 (February 2013) Orange S.A.
3 Beeline GSM (GPRS, EDGE)
UMTS, HSDPA
0.6 (February 2013) VimpelCom Ltd.

There are three mobile telephone network operators currently in Armenia. Viva Cell MTS, Orange and Beeline. All three have up to 95% 2G coverage of the population and around 90% 3G coverage. All three networks are widely modern and reliable with shops located around the city where one can purchase a sim card if needed. Most unlocked mobile phones are able to be used on roaming however network charges apply. Orange and Viva Cell 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

Domestic system[edit]

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. Telephone network is also in technological convergence process, which Beeline completed in 2009. Cellular networks such as Viva Cell MTS, Orange and Beeline also provide high-quality services, including GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS and HSDPA.

3G service was announced by Beeline in the summer of 2008. VivaCell-MTS announced their service at the end of 2008. Both Viva Cell MTS and Beeline provide 3G in many towns and cities around Armenia including the largest ones, Gyumri, Vanadzor and the capital city, Yerevan. Orange, a recent newcomer to Armenia has a modern high quality 2G, 3G and 3G+ network which covers almost 90% of the population.

International system[edit]

Yerevan is connected to the Trans-Asia-Europe fiber-optic cable via Georgia. There is general plan to make better connection via Turkey, after opening Turkey-Armenian borders. 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]

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]