Ucom

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Ucom
IndustryTelecommunications
Founded2009 (2009)
HeadquartersYerevan, Armenia
Area served
Armenia
ServicesFixed Line, Mobile Telephony and Broadband
OwnerUcom
Websitewww.ucom.am

Ucom is a mobile network operator and internet service provider in Armenia.[1] managed by Galaxy Group of Companies, a holding company operating in Armenia.[2]

History[edit]

Ucom was founded in 2009[3]. The goal of the company was to provide customers with access to innovative technological solutions in the field. Ucom was the first in Armenia to introduce the "fiber-optics to the home" solution, which provides high-quality television (IPTV), high-speed Internet connection and digital telephone services. Ucom provides its Internet services through its own fiber-optic channel connecting Armenia with Georgia. This allowed the company to provide transit internet to the Middle East.

In 2013, the company received a license to provide public mobile internet services, and in 2015 acquired 100% stake in Orange Armenia, therefore entering the Armenian mobile market[4]. As a result of this development, the company launched the 4G+ network in Armenia, which acted as a supplement the company's combined services, providing customers with the complete “4 in 1” package of IPTV, fixed and mobile phone services, and internet service.

In 2017, during the Customer Advisory Board meeting that took place in San Francisco at the initiative of Calix, Ucom and Calix announced the introduction of NG-PON2 (New Generation Passive Optical Network) technology in Armenia, which would enable Ucom to upgrade the bandwidth speed of 1 gigabit/sec in its fixed network to 10 gigabits/sec through this state-of-the-art infrastructure. With the construction of the NG-PON2 network, it was possible to provide higher quality services, speed, security and new services[5].

In April 2017, Ucom and FORA-BANK Joint-Stock Commercial Bank (part of Tashir Group) signed a partnership agreement for projects including the full range of telecommunications services, covering the entire territory of Armenia as well as its most remote regions. The implementation of the investment program defined by the agreement allowed expanding 4Play offers and 4G+ network in the country. Future plans include expansion of operations, especially in Russia, which will allow Ucom to become a leading pan-Armenian telecommunications operator[6].

Ucom has also been active in the field of corporate social responsibility, implementing a number of programs aimed at the development of children, particularly in the sphere of education. With the support of the company, computer engineering laboratories were opened in Armenian schools, aiming to promote the development of the ICT sector in our country. The company also supports vulnerable groups in society by continuing to implement the “Let's Keep Children in Families” SMS charity project, which provides families with resources that allow parents to create a stable source of income and return their children from the care of state institutions[7]. The company also implements the "Bringing Sight to Armenian Eyes" program[8], within the framework of which quality ophthalmological services are provided to the regional residents of the Republic of Armenia free of charge.

Labour Strike[edit]

On April 9, 2020, publications with the title “BREAKING.[9] Ucom management staff resign” appeared in the press and quickly spread throughout the Armenian network. According to the publication, the entire management of Ucom as well as the entire technical staff (around five dozen) wrote their resignation letters.

What was the cause of the controversy?[edit]

According to several media reports, the reason for the controversy was the confrontation between Ucom shareholder and at the time CEO Hayk Yesayan and the other shareholders. The other shareholders are the two sons of Gagik Khachatryan (former chairman of the RA Ministry of Finance), Gurgen Khachatryan (the chairman of the Board of Directors of Ucom), Artyom Khachatryan (major shareholder of Ucom) as well as the founder of the Russian-based Tashir Group, Samvel Karapetyan.[10] Mikayel Minasyan, the son-in-law of the third President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, was allegedly considered a shareholder too.[11]

According to another version, the real reason for the controversy were the disagreements between the senior staff and the majority shareholders who wanted to appoint Beeline CEO Andrey Pyatakhin at the helm of Ucom once the two companies merged.[12] Beeline released an official statement claiming that Pyatakhin, “does not intend to resign.”

Regarding the contradictions, there is various information published in the press about Hayk Yesayan's issues with his employees as an inefficient director. Employees claim that the Yesayan brothers lived a lavish lifestyle at company’s expense and had problems with the employees.[13] Another publication, citing the testimony of the staff, states that the Yesayan brothers were determined to take over Ucom.[14]

Further developments[edit]

Hayk and Alexander Yesayan announced that they have no intention to sell their share of the company and have intentions to purchase the other 94% of the company shares, for which they offered around USD 44 million.[15] The Board of Directors did not respond to the offer.[16] The press reported that a new CEO was appointed, which was not officially confirmed at the time. SCPEC President Gegham Gevorgyan announced that the recent developments at Ucom had nothing to do with SCPEC’s examinations.

On April 13, 2020, the founding shareholders issued a statement declaring that “Ucom is and will always be an Armenian operator and, obviously, it hasn’t been sold, exchanged or “extradited” to any country for any “deal”. The company has never considered and is not going to consider letting go of any of its employees. As for the shareholders, it’s worth mentioning that since the day of its foundation, large funds and social capital have been invested for the development of Ucom, continuing to believe in the vision of the U-team. By the way, the shareholders have never received a dividend in 12 years.[17] ”The statement also confirmed that Ucom has a new CEO, whose identity was not yet revealed at the time of the publication.[18]

A Ucom store in Yerevan

References[edit]

  1. ^ TeleGeography. "UCOM readies Orange Armenia re-branding". telegeography.com. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  2. ^ ""Galaxy" Group of Companies summarizes the year of 2018". news.am. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
  3. ^ "Ucom".
  4. ^ "PSRC authorises UCOM's Orange Armenia buyout". www.commsupdate.com. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  5. ^ "ng - Synonyms of ng | Antonyms of ng | Definition of ng | Example of ng | Word Synonyms API | Word Similarity API". wordsimilarity.com. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  6. ^ "Ucom & Fora Bank/Tashir. The full range of telecommunications services throughout Armenia, including the most remote regions".
  7. ^ ""Keep the children in the family" program, one more family has the opportunity to provide a stable income".
  8. ^ ""Bringing Sight to Armenian Eyes" program".
  9. ^ ""Explosion" in Ucom company".
  10. ^ "The entire management of "Ucom" has resigned. Controversies with majority shareholders".
  11. ^ "Why are they leaving Ucom?".
  12. ^ "Ucom plans to buy Beeline shares".
  13. ^ "Revelations from "Ucom". what was going on inside?".
  14. ^ "What guarantees did the Yesayans promise to the employees who wrote the application to Ucom?".
  15. ^ "We will not sell our share, we intend to buy 94% of "Ucom". Hayk Yesayan".
  16. ^ "PanArmenia.Net".
  17. ^ "Ucom will continue to operate normally".
  18. ^ "We are confident that the new CEO together with the team will ensure the continuity of the business".