16:00 | 29.01.09 | News | 4010

MTS not to reconsider investment programs in Armenia despite the crisis

Yerevan, /Mediamax/. “VivaCell-MTS” Company owns over 78% of the mobile connection market in Armenia.

Mediamax reports that this was announced today at the joint news conference of the Company’s General Manager Ralph Yirikian and MTS Vice-President, Director of “MTS Companies Abroad” Business-Unit Oleg Raspopov.

Following the result of 2008, the subscriber base of the company exceeded 2mln people.

Ralph Yirikian noted that in connection with the expected entry of the third operator to the market “it will not be easy to preserve such correlation of percentage; however we aim at possessing the largest possible share of the market and preserving the leader’s position”.
Oleg Raspopov noted that, despite the global financial-economic crisis, MTS is not going to reconsider its investment programs in Armenia, planned for 2009. Ralph Yirikian stated that the preliminary volume of investments of the current year makes $95mln, which will be mainly directed to developing 2.5G and 3G networks.
“VivaCell-MTS” plans to start operation of 3G network in test mode in Yerevan, Gyumri and Vanadzor in spring, 2009. According to Ralph Yirikian, the Company has not yet defined the tariff policy for 3G and the test launch will allow understanding the potential of this new type of services.
Ralph Yirikian noted that, despite the global crisis, “VivaCell-MTS” does not plan any staff reduction in 2009. “Maybe, for a certain period we will stop enrolling new employees, but we will not be reducing staff definitely”, he stressed.
Oleg Raspopov noted that “VivaCell-MTS” and MTS integration is basically completed and “this process was very successful”. “I want to note that this was integration, and not assimilation, and the process was of bilateral nature”, he stated.
Answering the question of the journalists, Oleg Raspopov refuted suppositions, according to which large-scale projects within the framework of corporate social responsibility, which “VivaCell-MTS” realizes in Armenia, cause discontent of MTS Group leadership.
“These projects are very effective and enjoy volume response in the society. Moreover, they bring great benefit to the Armenian people”, MTS Vice-President noted.
MTS hopes “the regulator will make a weighted decision” concerning MNP implementation in Armenia
MTS Vice-President Oleg Raspopov expressed hope at the news conference that “the regulator will make a weighted decision” as to the issue of implementing Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service in Armenia.
Answering the question of Mediamax at the joint news conference with the General Manager of “VivaCell-MTS” Ralph Yirikian, Oleg Raspopov said: “MTS Group always welcomes progressive solutions. At that, we still have questions concerning the timeliness of MNP mechanism implementation in Armenia. The matter is the correlation of financial, organizational and operational expenses, which are required for MNP implementation, and the effect it will allow achieving” Oleg Raspopov told Mediamax. In this connection, MTS Vice-President noted that the competition in the Armenian market is already quite acute and “will become even stronger in connection with the expected entry of the French operator in the market at the end of the year”.
“We very much hope that the Armenian regulator will make a weighted decision”, Oleg Raspopov stated, noting that, despite the discussions in process, MNP mechanism has not been yet implemented in any of the former USSR countries.
“VivaCell-MTS” plans to provide broadband internet access
Speaking at the joint news conference with Oleg Raspopov, General Manager of “VivaCell-MTS” Ralph Yirikian stated that the company’s plans include provision of broadband internet access services by means of its own fiber-optic network.
According to the General Manager of “VivaCell-MTS”, one will be able to talk about those plans more concretely only after the company’s plans for 2010 are composed. “However, provision of such a service is undoubtedly in our plans”, Ralph Yirikian stated, answering the question of Mediamax.
General Manager of “VivaCell-MTS” stated that in 2008 the company built 100km of fiber-optic network in Yerevan to secure connection between its basic stations and to provide service of high-speed data transfer.