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Rostelecom aims at the Armenian telecom operator

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Russian operator Rostelecom plans to acquire 75 percent minus one share of GNC-Alfa firm, Armenia's largest independent long-distance operator, for $22.5 million, Kommersant business daily reported quoting a source close to Rostelecom's board of directors.

"Internet traffic which transits through Iranian networks to Europe is a very promising trend. Part of (this transit channel) will be in Armenia and the purchase of the local long-distance operator should strengthen Rostelecom's positions (in the region)," the source told Kommersant.

The source added that GNC-Alfa's facilities gave opportunities to further the company's development of the rapidly growing broadband market of Armenia, which was estimated at nearly $40 million in 2011.

Armenian company has an extensive backbone network that will contribute to realize a project running right now, Rostelecom along with Iran’s TIC, OmanTel Omani and German C & W. Company expects to build a cable system (EPEG) of Germany in Oman through Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. EPEG will carry traffic between Europe and India by land route, and will reserve to the existing submarine cable systems Europe India Gateway.

GNC-Alfa may be the first foreign asset for Rostelecom.

Now the owner of the GNC-Alfa is its own management.

Rostelecom's source also did not rule out that the company might buy Ucom company, Armenia's largest independent internet provider, which would raise Rostelecom's share to about 13 percent on the Armenian broadband market.

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