Armenian govt puts off changing ArmenTel’s license to Nov 7

Armenian govt puts off changing ArmenTel’s license to Nov 7

Prime-Tass English-language Business Newswire
October 26, 2004

YEREVAN, Oct 26 (Prime-Tass) — The Armenian government has postponed
the introduction of amendments to the license of Armenian national
telecommunications company ArmenTel that aim to limit the company’s
monopolistic status to November 7 from October 28, a representative
of the governmental press service told Prime-Tass on Tuesday.

The amendments to the license were initially expected to come into
force on June 30 but were postponed several times due to legal
proceedings related to the case at the London Court of International
Arbitration. The London Court of International Arbitration is currently
hearing two suits, the Armenian government vs the Greek company
Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA (OTE), which holds 90%
in ArmenTel, and ArmenTel vs the Armenian government.

While the exact text of the amendments has not yet been released,
Armenian Justice Minister David Arutyunyan said on October 11 that
the government wants ArmenTel to vacate some of its GSM 900 channels
for the use of the country’s second mobile operator that is yet to
be created. The government also wants to allow the new company to
use ArmenTel’s fiber-optic communications line.

In 1997, Greek company Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA
(OTE) paid U.S. USD 142.470 million to gain control of the 90% stake
in ArmenTel that was formerly held both by the Armenian government
(41% stake) and Trans-World Telecom (49%).

According to the agreement between OTE and the Armenian government,
ArmenTel was granted the right to a monopoly for 15 years, but
in September 2003 the government initiated a procedure to amend
ArmenTel’s license.