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By Atom Markarian
ArmenTel has asked a state regulator to reconsider its decision to fine the telecommunication operator $400,000 for a serious breakdown of its mobile phone network, the largest in Armenia.

The chairman of the State Commission on the Protection of Economic Competition, Ashot Shahnazarian, said on Friday that the company has promised to submit “additional arguments and explanations” which will prove that it did not violate any laws or regulations. He said members of the commission will meet on August 31 to consider the request.

The regulatory body ruled on August 12 that ArmenTel, which maintains a legal monopoly on fixed-line telephony and Internet services in Armenia, has abused its “dominant position” in the cellphone business. ArmenTel representative disagreed with the decision, arguing that their company no longer has a monopoly on mobile phone services.

The penalty came in response to a drastic deterioration of mobile phone connection that followed the July 1 launch of Armenia’s second wireless network operated by a Lebanese-owned firm.

The situation has improved in the past two weeks. However, making or receiving phone calls is still problematic for about 300,000 ArmenTel subscribers.

Shahnazarian indicated that his commission is unlikely to change its decision. ArmenTel could again challenge it by taking the commission to court.

(Photolur photo: Ashot Shahnazarian.)
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