VimpelCom, which provides wireless communications services in Russia and Kazakhstan, has reported a sharp rise in revenues and net income for the three months to 30 September 2004 on the back of record subscriber growth and reduced costs. The operator posted profits of USD102.2 million, up from USD72.2 million a year earlier, on a 58.9% rise in net operating revenues to USD606 million thanks to record subscriber growth in its regional operations in Russia, the commercial launch of eight new networks, and the acquisition of Kazakh cellular operator Kar-Tel, which was completed on 3 September. VimpelCom had just under 19.87 million Russian subscribers at the end of September, more than double the figure it reported a year ago. In Moscow, the cellco claimed 6.65 million customers, from 5.07 previously, but it was in the regions outside its Moscow market that most of the gains were made. The operator added more than nine million customers to end the period with 13.22 million accounts, of which 11.8 million are pre-paid. Moreover, for the first nine months of 2004 VimpelCom reported that operating revenues soared by 62.8% year-on-year to USD1.51 billion, matched by a similar rise in net income to USD166.2 million, helping drive its OIBDA margin to 49.1% from 45.9% for the corresponding nine months of 2003.
VimpelCom’s newly acquired cellular business in Kazahkstan, Kar-Tel – which operates under the K-Mobile brand name – reported 676,300 subscribers at the end of September, up from 420,000 at the start of the year. Of the total, 580,600 are contract users and just 95,700 pre-paid. The high proportion of post-paid users helped bolster the Kazakh operator’s contribution: it generated operating revenues of USD10.76 million and net income of USD2.28 million for the third quarter. Monthly blended ARPU stood at USD16.3 and SACs at USD25.2.