A1 (Unitary Service Enterprise "A1") is a provider of telecommunication, ICT and content services in Belarus. The company started its commercial activity on April 16, 1999, when it became the first GSM mobile operator in the country. Since November 2007, it has been a part of the international A1 Telekom Austria Group, which is a European subdivision of the transnational holding América Móvil, one of the world's largest wireless service providers. Until August 2019, the company operated under the velcom brand.
More than 4.8 million people are subscribers of A1 mobile communication services in Belarus, more than 1.2 million households have access to a fixed network using GPON and Ethernet technologies in regional cities and the largest district centers. In addition, IPTV (VOKA) digital television services, products for business, as well as data storage and cloud services are provided under the brand name A1, based on its own data center, one of the largest in the country. The company employs more than 2,300 people, and A1 stores are located in all major population centers across the country.
- 1999 – the company starts commercial activity under the velcom brand.
- 2000 – GSM communication from velcom appeared in all the regional cities of Belarus.
- 2007 – velcom communication became available for the whole urban population of Belarus.
- 2007 – velcom became part of A1 Telekom Austria Group.
- 2008 – the company changed its logo and name to the Unitary Enterprise Velcom.
- 2010 – the company began 3G network deployment.
- 2014 – VOKA interactive television appeared in the company's portfolio of services.
- 2016 – the company built and commissioned one of the largest solar power plants in Belarus.
- 2016 – modernization of the existing 3G network was launched by adding the more advanced UMTS-900 format to the UMTS-2100 format.
- 2016-2018 – the company started to actively develop in the fixed Internet market, following the strategy of integration of already existing networks (merger of Atlant Telecom, TeleSet, Garant companies networks in Gomel and Vitebsk, etc.), as well as construction of own high-speed Internet access networks based on Ethernet and GPON technologies
- 2017 – velcom became the world's first mobile operator to commercially launch a fully virtual mobile network core.
- 2017 – velcom data center, one of the largest data centers in Belarus, started operating in Minsk.
- 2017 – the company launched the country's first narrowband NB-IoT (Narrow Band Internet of Things) network for the Internet of Things in Minsk.
- 2019 – the company started providing 4G mobile Internet service in the network of the infrastructure operator beCloud in Minsk and Minsk region.
- 2019 – the company announced repositioning in the market, the transition to the A1 brand took place. The company changed its name to Unitary Enterprise "A1".
- 2019 – the company was the first in Belarus to launch virtual eSIM cards.
- 2019 – A1 provider provided all the tunnels of the Moskovskaya and Avtozavodskaya lines of Minsk subway with mobile communications, as well as implemented a large-scale project to improve the quality of mobile communications in the trains of the Belarusian Railways.
- 2019 – and beCloud entered into an agreement on strategic partnership for 4G network development in the regions.
- 2020 – A1 made the first call in the CIS using VoNR technology and launched the first autonomous 5G network in Belarus in test mode.
- 2020 – А1 and Visa entered into the strategic partnership agreement with a view to developing digital financial services in Belarus.
- 2021 – A1 started selling SIM cards for self-registration in the stores of the partner networks.
- 2021 – A1 transferred the rights and obligations under a number of ICT service provision agreements to a new company A1 ICT Services.
- 2021 – the company was the first in Belarus to monitor the status of A1's solar power plant using an unmanned helicopter operating in the 5G SA network.
- 2022 – A1 expanded its 4G network capabilities by including the 2600 MHz range in addition to the 800 and 1800 MHz channels.
A1 provides mobile communications services of the GSM 900/1800, UMTS 900/2100 (WCDMA/HSDPA/HSUPA/HSPA+) standards and 4G in the 800/1800/2600 MHz ranges (LTE, in the beCloud infrastructure operator's network) in the territory of Belarus. As of June 30, 2022, the company's mobile services were used by 4.889 million subscribers. Clients have access to a full range of basic services, as well as additional services. HD voice calls and high speed internet are available in the territory where 99% of the country's population lives.
You can subscribe to the communication services both in the company's stores across the country and independently by purchasing and activating the "SIM-to-go" kit, consisting of an A1 SIM card with an initial balance, which is available in retail chains, and by connecting eSIM without visiting an A1 store – via the "My A1" application.
4G connectivity is available in all major cities of Belarus. In addition, since 2019, in partnership with beCloud, A1 has been developing a project to expand its 4G network to rural areas. Currently, it is implemented in Gomel, Mogilev, Minsk, Vitebsk, and Brest regions. A1 is also one of the largest private fixed Internet access operators in Belarus, providing subscribers with high-speed Internet access by GPON, Ethernet, ADSL standards in all regional centers of the country, as well as in Bobruisk, Dobrush, Zhlobin, Novopolotsk, Polotsk, Rechitsa, Svetlogorsk, Soligorsk. The complex of services for legal entities clients is provided to organize access to the network via an individual fiber-optic line.
Active development of the company's fixed network took place in 2016 - 2020, when subscribers of the providers "Atlant Telecom" (Minsk), " Aichyna Plus" (Minsk), "Belinfonet" (Minsk), "Garant" (Gomel and Vitebsk), "Summit" (Polotsk), "Multiservisnaya Set" (Soligorsk), "Ranak Media" (Svetlogorsk) and partially " Delovaya Set" (Minsk) joined it.
In 2022, the subscribers of the “Elsat”, “Elsat TV”, and “Elnet” providers (Brest) also joined the company's fixed network.
In September 2017, A1 launched its own data center (DC) in Minsk. The data center occupied an area of 7.5 thousand square meters and is currently one of the largest and most modern in Belarus.
The data center is designed for 800 server racks and has its own optical ring – 43 kilometers of network with the bandwidth of 1 Tbit/sec. A1 Data Center has an international Uptime Institute (UI) certificate for fault tolerance level Tier III in the Design and Facility categories, a PCI DSS certificate, confirming the provision of client infrastructure security and payment card data protection, as well as an ISO/IEC 27001 information security certificate. A1 was the first company in Belarus to confirm its compliance with license requirements for works and services in the field of information security of critical information facilities. A1 Data Center received a certificate of compliance with the national information security requirements and confirmed compliance with the requirements of the state standard of the Republic of Belarus STB ISO/IEC 27001-2016.
Currently, the Data Center provides the following services: cloud solutions (IaaS, private clouds, "Cloud in a certified data center segment", VPS); server and network equipment placement (Colocation, HaaS); ICT services and solutions (Baas, Cloud Connect, DRaaS, Oracle comprehensive technical support and others); cybersecurity services (WAFaaS, VMaaS, SIEMaaS, NGFW and others); IT consulting, Managed IT.
Starting April 2021, A1 transferred the rights and obligations under a number of ICT services agreements to a new company, A1 ICT Services. A1 ICT Services LLC operates under the A1 brand and is registered as a resident of the High Tech Park.
In 2022, the company transformed its approach to projects and acts as a developer of integrated technological solutions for its clients.
The range of IT solutions and services offered by A1 has been significantly extended and includes: pre-project preparation; infrastructure design, installation, commissioning; implementation of security alarm, video surveillance and access control systems, as well as multimedia, sound and video conferencing systems; service maintenance; linking all solutions together and organizing their interaction within one team of specialists.
For more information about the services of A1 ICT Services LLC, please visit the website.
A1 has been providing video service under the VOKA brand since 2014. The service is available via IPTV technology in A1 network and OTT through the network of any operator in Belarus. A special feature of the video service is providing access to the content of several online movie theaters (Amediateka, START, Premier), Hollywood studios, more than 130 TV channels, as well as sports broadcasts in one subscription "All Inclusive".
In 2017, A1 opened the VOKA CINEMA complex in partnership with the Silver Screen cinema chain, which includes seven high-tech movie theaters. In 2019, the cinema opened a cinema hall with a 270-degree viewing angle using ScreenX technology.
Since 2018, the VOKA team has been producing its own content about Belarus. In the VOKA Local section you can find exclusive shows of different topics with the participation of local Belarusian personalities, as well as broadcasts of musical, educational and theatrical events. The CINEVOKA section contains popular movies voiced by Belarusian actors. This project translates both classics of cinema from different years and hits from Disney Studios.
With the help of the company, the Belarusian Federation of Computer Sports public association was registered in 2020 and the Belarusian Association of Computer Sports (BACS). The association is engaged in the development and popularization of computer sports in Belarus and works on the recognition of cybersports at the state level. 22 Belarusian cybersports organizations are the members of the BACS. Together with A1 and VOKA, the association holds large-scale cybersports tournaments and events: Fight Club, VOKA League, Great Belarusian Tanks, Universus, The International Dota 2 pubstomp, activities at the exhibition Unicon&Game Expo Minsk. On the VOKA platform, computer sports are presented in the "Cybersports" section, where broadcasts, movies and podcasts are collected.
In 2022, A1 signed a partnership with the international company Setanta Sports, one of the biggest owners of sports rights in the CIS. Thanks to this, all the broadcasts of popular sports championships, such as the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Series A, NBA, NHL, UFC, ATP, Formula 1, appeared on the VOKA video service.
There are more than 80 A1 stores all over Belarus, as well as an online store, working in live streaming format, where clients can not only get an online video consultation on the selected device model, but also take a virtual "walk" in the center of digital services accompanied by the company's specialist in real time.
Besides its own chain, the A1 trade mark is represented in more than 200 dealer communications stores all over the country. In addition, today A1 is one of the largest suppliers of smartphones, tablets, laptops and mobile accessories in Belarus. In 2019, the company introduced its first smartphone under its own brand, A1 Alpha. Currently, the range of devices available for purchase at A1 includes such global brands as Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, HP, Honor, Xiaomi, Huawei and others. A wide range of accessories is also available in the company's stores.
A1 conducts its activities in accordance with the international ESG principles (Environmental. Social. Governance). This strategy defines the responsibility that A1 in Belarus, like the entire A1 Telekom Austria Group, takes on in order to seek the most sustainable ways for the company's development, which will also help to care for the environment and solve important social issues.
A1 pays special attention to the ecology and care for the environment, as well as inclusion and a society of equal opportunities. The company is proud of a long history of charity and assistance to children's medical institutions, implements social educational projects for schoolchildren, helps Belarusians to rediscover their cultural heritage and improve digital literacy.
Since 2020, the environment has become one of the company's priorities in the field of corporate social responsibility. In accordance with the ESG (Environmental. Social. Governance) principles, A1 has established certain goals and tasks that the company plans to achieve between 2021 and 2025 in the three main areas, energy efficiency, the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and garbage footprint reduction. They are included in the environmental policy, which covers all aspects of A1's activities.