It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.
So, how does one connect while in Armenia
Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
Mobile phone providers There are three 2G, 3G and one 4G service providers operating in Armenia. You’re strongly advised to acquire a temporary pre-paid SIM card as they are cheap and convenient, allow both local and international calls, do not charge for incoming calls and there’s no monthly fee. Mobile internet and UTMS are also offered from all companies, as well as the normal full range of wireless services. VivaCell and Orange have booths offering free SIM-Cards to incoming visitors at the airport.
They are also easiest to top-up (at pretty much any store or kiosk in the country) and have better English services, rates and coverage. The majority of foreign visitors find their unlocked mobile phones compatible with Armenian SIM cards (GSM 900/1800). GSM coverage maps of Armenia. VivaCell (Armenian, English and Russian) is the leading GSM service provider in Armenia and offers quality service at reasonable rates (owned by the Russian giant MTS). They have the best coverage outside of Yerevan.
A VivaCell pre-paid SIM card (“ALO” card) costs 1,100-7,000 dram, depending on how much starting cr you want. At their flagship store off Republic Square, VivaCell is very helpful to foreigners and will make sure that you understand everything in English, French or Russian. They offer very low priced “Distant Calls” for international calls from your phone via VoIP (be sure to dial 77001 + country code + the number!); in fact, it is much cheaper per minute to call the US or Canada (13 dram) or Russia (30 dram) than it is to dial Armenian networks! Orange (Armenian and English) (The French multi-national is a newcomer, in the country since mid-2009) offers a pre-paid card called Let’s Talk with complicated, but competitive rates.
All networks in Armenia (35 dram) lower rates may apply within the network or for night-time calls, US or Canada (15 dram), Russia (30 dram). Beeline (Armenian and Russian) (formerly ArmenTel but have switched to the Russian brand) also have a pre-paid card. This option may no longer be available to those without Armenian residency, although Russians and Ukrainians seem to be exempted.
All three networks cover 90% of the population with 2G and 70-80% with 3G so having network signal is not often a worry. Orange and Viva Cell MTS are recommended to foreigners or tourists as they have a helpful variety of languages for tourists such as Armenian, English, French and Russian.
Other tips on staying connected while in Armenia? Please add your comments and tips.