09:31 | 29.12.11 | News | 14053

4G in Armenia: history and perspectives

Yerevan/Mediamax/. On December 28th, VivaCell-MTS announced the commercial launch of first 4G/LTE network in Armenia. Itel.am decided to recall what preceded to the launch of the 4 generation network.

In April 2010, VivaCell-MTS General Manager Ralph Yirikian said that the company will launch the 4G network in Armenia “and this will prove that Armenia, just like Sweden, Norway and USA, may pretend to be called a country developing telecommunications and information technologies.”

In November 2010, Ralph Yirikian said in the interview to Mediamax that the company considered the launch of a 4 generation network still in early 2009. “The work began in November 2009. We were looking for convenient suppliers to receive frequencies, as this is a new technology and may work only on limited frequencies,” he said then.
“There’s a tendency to think that LTE is just about speed, but that misses half of the equation. Speed goes up dramatically - by a factor of 10 over our 3G networks - but equally important is that latency drops by more than half. According to the assessment of the suppliers, download speed may reach 150Mbps, and upload speed – up to 50Mbps. These are, of course, theoretical capacities. In reality, download speed may range from 10 to 50Mbps, and upload – within the range of 5-10Mbps. It is obvious that 4G fundamentally differs from the speeds and capacities of 3G”, Ralph Yirikian said.

In his interview to Mediamax last December, Director General of Ericsson in Armenia Olaf Parasiewicz said:
“In 2007, our company launched cooperation with “VivaCell-MTS” mobile connection operator. And our interaction is now actively developing. In particular, this year we became partners in testing 4G/LTE network, and this is a very serious achievement for Armenia, which in a second entered the list of the most advanced countries of the world as to development of new generation networks. And we, undoubtedly, are grateful to our partners from “VivaCell-MTS” for the opportunity to jointly develop a project of such importance”.

On 20 December 2010, VivaCell-MTS began testing the 4G/LTE network in the minor center of Yerevan in Arabkir community. According to company CEO, besides Ericsson, their partner was the Chinese Huawei Company, and the investments into the construction of 4G/LTE network totaled approximately $7.5 million.

As for the other market participants, in early 2011, Orange Armenia held the presentation of opportunities of 4G technology, dedicated to the anniversary of Orange’s activity in Armenia. Company CEO Bruno Duthoit noted then that Orange Armenia is not going to build a 4G network in Armenia in the short-term perspective, as it has recently introduced the 3G+ network, which satisfies the requirements of the subscribers.

This November, Bruno Duthoit said that “our network is technically fully compatible with 4G.” At the same time, he said “4G technologies are currently being tested in many countries and are not mature yet to be introduced to the consumer.”

“ArmenTel” CEO Igor Klimko said in May 2010 that the company was not considering the launch of the 4G network in the nearest perspective and prefers to focus on increasing the quality of services it provides.