Armentel Sets Sky High Prices for High Speed Communication

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Armenian communication company "Arminco" is currently negotiating with Armentel for the obtaining of high-speed communication channels. Arminco’s chief engineer Grigor Sagian said that Armentel verbally announced the following price list for telecommunication services:

4 Kbit/sec – $3,000 per month

228 Kbit/sec – $5,700

256 Kbit/sec – $10,800

512 Kbit/sec – $19,200

Yet such companies as UUNET and MSI as well as a number of others provide high-speed channel with a capacity of 2048 Kbit/sec for $2,700-3,000 per month–which is 30 times lower than prices set by Armentel.

Sagian noted that the two organizations should sign a new deal as new capacity channels are provided. Under new contract–Arminco will not have the right to provide Internet-phone services–although the license issued for Armentel does not provide for such a monopoly.

Sagian believes that the per minute billing system will be a blow to the Armenian Internet users. Users of the Internet will have to pay $72 per month (with average Internet access time of 120 minutes a day)–which may force many users to refuse Internet services.

Sagian believes that Armentel could set discounts for Internet services since its monopoly rights overlaps telecommunications–but not on information reporting. Under the agreement concluded with Armentel–the government of Armenia has coordinating functions and may raise such issues. Otherwise–according to Sagian–electronic communication may also fall under Armentel’s monopoly which is fraught with unpredictable consequences for the sector.

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