Claims that Ucom has bought out Orange Armenia will perhaps be officially verified today when representatives of the two companies make a public statement.
Buying Orange Armenia, with its broadband internet services, cable TV and landline telephone, Ucom will effectively be entering the cellular market in Armenia. Ucom revealed its intention to offer cellular services in 2014.
It’s difficult to say what strategy Ucom will craft regarding its competitors in the cellular market – ArmenTel (Beeline) and Vivacell MTS. However, if Ucom fails to increase its subscriber base and profit margins, it will surrender its position in the cellular market to these two companies. Of late, Orange Armenia was operating at a loss.
As of March 31, 2015, Vivacell stated that it had 2.116 million subscribers, as opposed to 790,327 for Beeline and 497,733 for Orange.
For the same period, Ucom had 67,481 internet subscribers and Orange boasted 128,549 subscribers for its broadband service. If Ucom buys Orange its internet subscriber base will total 196,000.
For comparative purposes, as of March 31, 2015 Beeline had 152,500 subscribers for its fixed broadband service and 43,645 for its mobile internet; a total of 196,145.
Thus, after the buyout of Orange, Ucom would have an equal number of internet subscribers as Beeline.
Rostelecom, a recent internet provider, has a mere 27,554 subscribers.
Ucom is 41% owned by Aram Khachatryan, a cousin of Armenian Finance Minister Gagik Khachatryan.