IPTV takes off in Armenia

20.55 Europe/London, October 11, 2011 By Chris Dziadul

IP&TV Forum EurAsiaEastEurope 2011 – ISTANBUL. Armenia’s telco market has undergone a huge transformation since its deregulation in 2006, with Ucom very much at the forefront of developments.
According to Alexandr Yesayan, the company’s general director, it entered the market in 2009, when there were only 20,000 broadband users in the country.
Since then it has built a FTTH network, based on GPON technology and offering triple play services, which has 20,000 active subscribers.
Although it still has only limited coverage, the net’s rollout should be completed in the capital, Yerevan, by the end of this year.
Yesayan added that last week Ucom’s IPTV service added eight HD channels to its offer, which had until then consisted of just 116 SD channels, and that they will shortly be joined by a further 24.
Furthermore, nearly all the channels support catch-up.
Ucom was also the first company in Armenia to introduce VOD and this is now offered in HD quality, with some content also in 3D.
Furthermore, it has its own widgets, with a recently-launched one – U!Pay – allowing customers to pay utility bills through their TV sets.
Yesayan added that Ucom is planning to launch an OTT service, aimed principally at the 7-8 million Armenians living outside the country (Armenia itself has a population of only around 3 million).
However, this will present a big challenge due to lack of capacity, with Armenia only having links with neighbouring Georgia.