Hayk Yesayan: Team Telecom Armenia is on its way of becoming the first IPO Telecom

22.12.2022 | 21:50 Home / News / Interviews /
#Team Telecom Armenia # Hayk Yesayan
In 2022, Team Telecom Armenia completed its rebranding, went on towards building a unique NGN network in the region, and turned Armenia into an internet-exporting country.

Banks.am had a talk with the General Director of Team Telecom Armenia Hayk Yesayan about the results of the year, future goals and ways to achieve them.

Connection is at the core

Two years ago, we acquired 100% of shares of Veon Armenia or, as it is better known- Beeline, and in 2022 we completed the rebranding of Team Telecom Armenia. Choosing the title “Team” wasn’t a random decision, since the company was established by team decision and it goes on like this even today. People who have come a long way together and share common values have gathered here.

Team Telecom Armenia was founded with one main goal: to create a stable and long-term infrastructure that will bring breakthrough changes to telecommunications sector in the future, will contribute not only to the advancement of our company, but also to the development of IT sector and communities in Armenia.

We aim to have a steadily developing network, which day by day becomes more up-to-date than the world average and to create a platform where both our company and others will be able to provide services.

Looking back at 120-year-old history of telecommunications, from the first radio to mobile phones and cloud solutions, we see that regardless of the type of services rendered, there is one word lying at the core- connection.

Based on connection, various derivative services are developed and provided, ranging from the simplest telephone call to the world’s favorite Netflix. We want to build a solid foundation, a quality network, based on which it will be possible to create many derivative services.

Network for 100 years

From 2021 we started the creation of NGN (New Generation Network) network in partnership with Nokia. It is unique in our region and is currently one of the fastest in the world.  NGN network will allow to provide 25 Gbit/s internet to each subscriber. This year it became available in Jermuk, Kajaran, Hrazdan, Metsamor, Vardenis, Kapan, Armavir, Alaverdi cities, Gndevaz, Kechut villages, Davtashen, Arabkir and Avan administrative districts of Yerevan. Network re-equipment in marzes and rural areas requires huge investments and has a low return. Yet our strategy is to have an up-to-date network throughout the country, no matter whether it is Yerevan or a regional settlement.

We are completely replacing copper network with fiber optic one. It is unique in Armenia and we are using such engineering solutions, that to my view there will be no need for significant changes in the next 100 years. Today, there is no network that is faster than fiber, and we have designed the network in such a way that upgrading it will be very easy.

The difference between Team Telecom Armenia from other companies operating in Armenia is that various types of technologies are used in our network. It is good, since we are able to provide services to each consumer in conformity with the technology they want.

Our network has one more peculiarity;  Any subscriber can connect to it with a separate fiber optic cable and not be technologically dependent on anyone. This is important for government and corporate customers for security concerns. We can say for certain that a network of this level is one of the leaders not only in Armenia, but also in the world. If I'm not mistaken, Google has done something similar, called "Dark fiber", when it is possible to connect one subscriber with one fiber. Today we provide the same opportunity in Armenia as well.

Unfortunately, the market is not yet ready to take advantage of this opportunity, but it needs to be educated. It has been proven, that if you build something of quality, for which there is a need, then the market will be formed. This is the reason why we also launch a major project of data center creation. We want to develop this sphere as well.  

With regard to mobile communication, basic re-equipment is underway here as well. It is still a bit early to talk about 5G, because there is no need for it in the market, the consumption is very low. All the three operators functioning in Armenia can easily provide 5G network, but this is not yet commercially viable. We can say that the company to do this first is more likely to pursue marketing goals.

$45 million funding from international organizations

After the acquisition of Beeline shares, we managed to reverse the negative trend in revenue decline, and this is already the second year the company has recorded a steady growth in revenue. I think this is a major change and a promising indicator. This year, in comparison to the previous one, the company recorded a 9.3% revenue growth.  As of the third quarter of 2022, the number of Team Telecom Armenia mobile subscribers exceeded 960 thousand, the number of fixed Internet subscribers - 93 thousand.

Financially, another major success was the attraction of $45 million financing from IFC and EBRD international organizations and Ameriabank. We are happy to announce that there is also an Armenian bank in this list. Trust in both the company's strategy and management, forms the basis for granting funding, as such institutions scrutinize the company prior to granting financing. This trust is very important for us, especially in the context of recent global developments, when investments have turned to be risky.

Significant part of financing is being invested in system upgrading. This will allow to improve the quality of service, including the expansion of 4G mobile network and launch of fiber optic network throughout Armenia. We expect that as a result, around 1.1 million subscribers will use faster Internet and of better quality, more than 450 thousand households will be provided with fast fiber optic technology.

Armenia as an Internet-exporting country

Due to NGN network we have gone beyond the borders of the Republic of Armenia and now we provide internet to 5 countries of the Middle East. Armenia has now become an internet-exporting country. This is of crucial importance not only for our company, but also for the country, since as a result of diversification of international communication networks, the level of Armenia’s information security will also rise.

This collaboration was made possible thanks to very complex and consistent work. The market of the Middle East countries is interesting, because in terms of Internet supply, you are "fighting" with Turkey and Azerbaijan here. As a result, we reached the point where we got 50% of the supply. This is a great achievement for Armenia, since in our case this was the company’s “struggle”, in case of Turkey telecom is state-owned, and Azerbaijan has great financial opportunities.

The first IPO Telecom in Armenia

One of our main goals in 2023 is to continue work towards improvement of service quality, creation of coverage with new technologies and ensuring its maximum distribution. We hope that the results of this strategy will be tangible already in 2024-25. Talking about news, Team Telecom Armenia's billing service Team Pay will be available soon.

We also plan to open the company to everyone. We want to create the first IPO (Initial Public Offering) telecom in Armenia so that everyone can become a shareholder of the company and feel part of the team. This is of crucial importance in terms of culture formation. People will start to realize that regardless of the amount of money, they can make investments in companies like this, become shareholders, instead of just keeping the money in this or that bank in the form of a deposit. Eventually, these deposits, through bank mediation, go to companies. The whole world is simplifying this culture making the connection between the investor and the company direct, without intermediaries.

Yana Shakhramanyan

Photo by Elen Gasparyan
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