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Orange Confirms Submitting Bid for Armenian Mobile License

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France Telecom's mobile division, Orange says that it has submitted a bid for the 3rd mobile phone license in Armenia valued at EUR51 million (USD70 million). Armenia's Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC) announced the tender in July and said that there will be a reserve price of USD16 million for the license and the winner will be required to invest a minimum of USD320 million in the network rollout.

"We confirm that Orange has submitted a formal offer to the Armenian Telecommunications Commission for the acquisition of a national mobile operator license," a company spokesman said

A statement from the Transportation and Communication Ministry last month said that although 17 companies applied for the tender documents, but only six companies submitted a bid, Orange, CEO Blackrock Communications, V-Tel, Tele2, Auroratel and PJ Engineering. The winner of the license is expected to be announced later this week.

Armenia currently has two mobile networks, Armentel (majority owned by Russia's VimpelCom) and VivaCell (majority owned by Russia's MTS). Russia's other main operator, Megafon had been regularly cited as the certain winner of the tender - so the shortlist had proven to be a surprise.

The two incumbent operators have confirmed that they will launch 3G services shortly.

Figures from the Mobile World show that the country ended the first half of this year with a shade under 3 million subscribers - representing a population penetration level of 72%.

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Tags: orange  megafon  mts  3  vivacell  armentel  Armenia