Russia’s second largest mobile operator VimpelCom has posted a net profit of USD91 million for the second quarter of 2004, up 73% on the corresponding period of 2003, on revenues of USD490.9 million (+61%). At the end of June 2004 VimpelCom, which operates under the brand Bee Line, reported 16.3 million subscribers, climbing from13.4 million just three months previously. Over 95% of the 2.9 million new subscribers came from areas outside of the high-income Moscow Licence Area. The growth was partly organic and partly as a result of the purchase of Dal Telecom International, an operator in three eastern regions of Russia.
Having achieved nationwide coverage with the purchase of Dal Telecom, the cellco now appears set to follow a path of international expansion already taken by its main rival, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS). Having seen MTS make acquisitions in Belarus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, VimpelCom announced yesterday that it is to purchase KaR-Tel, the second largest operator in neighbouring Kazakhstan. KaR-Tel holds a national GSM-900MHz licence and has approximately 600,000 subscribers, which, according to company estimates, gives it a 31% share of the market.