11:42 | 20.09.11 | Interviews | exclusive 8182

ArmenTel: We are going to organize the public demonstration of VDSL technology in near future

Interview of Technical Director of ArmenTel Vladimir Sachkov to Mediamax and iTel portal

- The competition between the operators in Yerevan seems to have reached its peak and the operators begin promotion in the regions. ArmenTel has the widest wired transport network in Armenia. In what state is it now, and what are you doing to develop the network inside the country?

- The company has significantly modernized the transport network. Today all the fiber optic networks have spatial ring reserve structures also on the basis of modern DWDM technology. This allows to considerably increase the reliability, the bandwidth capacity and the efficiency of network usage. We are developing the All-IP conception, ensuring the absence of transformation from various technologies throughout the whole traffic generated by the subscribers. I’ll clarify for the readers what it means:  the transition to All-IP is as urgent for the telecom as the construction of a common network of highways with common rules for the transport infrastructure. IP is a universal principle of addressing due to which the use of large networks becomes more effective. It brings considerable positive results both in terms of data transfer speed and in temporal delays in transferring packages. On the whole, we have abandoned the channels with the capacity of less than 10 Gbps between the network elements.

- There is a huge gap between the business development level of the capital and the regions in Armenia, and it is a serious problem. Taking this into consideration is it profitable for your company to promote Hi Line service in the regions, where the buying capacity of the population is several times less than in Yerevan. Maybe you are entering some regions only taking into consideration the company’s social responsibility to the society?

- The investments and the development of the transport network and subscriber lines in Armenia’s regions are not compensated by the provision of Hi Line service in the regions. However, the strategic vision of our company is as follows: for ArmenTel, as a large national operator, this is a matter of responsibility for the state of country’s telecommunication infrastructure. It’s about the serious approach of the big investor which is responsible for the telecommunication security of the country rather than the commercial aspect. And we are doing our utmost to ensure equal access to new technologies in Yerevan and in the regions. So, the element of social responsibility does exist here.

- ArmenTel has recently announced about the connection of the 100 000th HiLine subscriber. How many clients can your network serve and what is its “limit”?

- We are planning to carry out works for the development of the network for one year proceeding from the dynamics of subscriptions. So, investments for the provision of uninterrupted functioning of the network are made taking into account the optimistic forecasts in terms of subscriptions.

- It was announced in July that ArmenTel was planning to introduce a very-high-speed digital subscriber line (VDSL) network which will allow to bring the connection speed up to 40 Mbps. Do you know anything about approximate timeframes of launching the network and the geography of its coverage?

- In the nearest future, we are going to organize a public demonstration of this technology in real conditions of our network in concrete residential buildings and not in laboratory-testing conditions. As for the geography, VSDL technology will be introduced step by step, just like the ADSL- from the capital to the regions.

- In late August, ArmenTel Director General said that the company will have new offers for internet-subscribers in the nearest future. Could you, please, tell us whether these are technological or marketing innovations?

- Not so much time has passed since August but we have already introduced one of our offers to the market. I mean the unprecedented action enabling our new subscribers to receive a netbook by connecting to internet and the old subscribers – by renewing their contract. It’s obvious that the commercial realization of the large-scale connection within the framework of this project required the organized and accurate work of all technical divisions of the company- from planning to exploitation. The fact that we have managed to connect unlimited number of subscribers during 2 weeks bears witness to high reliability of our technical systems, competent organization of the network and its stress response.

Just the other day, our company received the status of the official host of Google’s services in Armenia, which enables us to cache any services of Google on our servers. Our clients have already noticed the high quality of functioning of such popular services as YouTube and Google Map. Now they can easily watch videos in HD format without wasting time for downloads.

- This year you launched the service of free of charge web-hosting and prolonged the term of the action till the end of the year. Is it in demand among the population and can you tell us anything about the number of users who have already entrusted their servers to your company?

- The situation with the hosting of Armenian sites mainly abroad has not changed too much, that’s why we can’t speak about the mass demand yet. Of course, it would be ideal to host all Armenian sites inside the country. But even today, despite the small percentage, the sites which are hosted here provide a serious share of the traffic of our clients.

- The other day, UCom and Netsys announced merger. One of the main goals of the merger was the development of web-hosting services. Can we say that the fight for bringing the hosting of local sites from abroad to Armenia may become a significant element of competition between the operators?

- The incomes from hosting services make a small percent in the total portfolio of the operator. That’s why I wouldn’t say that the hosting service has a competitive advantage on the market. If you mean the use of hosting as an instrument of pressure in terms of traffic exchange, this issue is strictly regulated in Armenia by the relevant decision of the Public Services Regulatory Commission. On the whole, I think, hosting is a segment where the local operators should compete not with one another but with foreign companies in order to attract content to Armenia. This, in its turn, will allow to unload the external channels and reduce the self-cost of internet service, and thus- the price for the clients.

- By the way, the head of Netsys said that one of the reasons that forced his company to merge with UCom was the low bandwidth capacity of ArmenTel’s DSL network. What can you say about it?

- Transport communication nodes of Beeline built by IP/MPLS/DWDM technology in Yerevan and in regions ensure enough bandwidth capacity of Beeline network and exceed 10Gbps many times. I think, these figures need no comments and make any further discussion senseless.

- ArmenTel is also developing its 3G network. How and when can the subscribers feel the advantages of the modernized network?

- We have successively made investments into the expansion of the geography and capacity of 3G network. Today, Beeline’s 3G network covers over 150 settlements in Armenia with the population of about 3 million people. This means that today these settlements can really use a good mobile communication, high-speed internet and other modern services provided by Beeline.

- New companies are entering the market of fixed telephony where ArmenTel has been the only player until most recent. What is your advantage? Let’s assume that a new apartment building is being built in Yerevan and the developer has to chose an operator. Why should he prefer your  company and not any other one?

- We may offer a wide range of services based on the most up-to-date technologies and mass solutions allowing the dwellers of these buildings, the managing company to receive maximum profit from our solutions. I would like to say that we provide 24-hour support of our services which is very important for the provision of dwellers’ security (calls to special services, security service and monitoring), as well as for increasing the quality of their life.