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Yerkir-Media reports that the Russian Mobile Services Operator MTC is interested in Armenia and the probability of buying “K-telecom”(i.e. Vivacell) is very high, according to the statement made by the President of MTC Leonid Melamed after the board meeting of the company held on September 4th.
Russian experts have estimated “K-telecom’s” price at 500-600 million US dollar. Even with my utter disappointment with the US Dollar exchange rate as of lately, I have to admit this is a huge figure, and VivaCell is well worth it.
Following the purchase of Armentel by Russian Vimpelcom this heightened interest towards the Armenian telecom market may result in leaving the whole of Armenia’s telecommunication industry in the hands of Russians. Is it good or bad for us? Well, I guess it is good, as Russians have cash, a lot of it, and looks like their interested (or maybe President Putin is artificially stimulating that interest?) in the Armenian market. And while Russian companies are far from being world leaders in providing high-quality telecom services or pioneers in technological innovation, the initial steps undertaken by VimpelCom make it look much better then the Greek OTE, the previous owner of Armentel. Still I have this gut feeling, that giving only one country – and especially a country like Russia renowned for its use of economic levers to reach political results, full control of a strategic resource like the telecommunications sphere, is dangerous… very, very dangerous indeed!