Russian mobile group Vimpelcom has completed the purchase of 84.4% of Sakhalin Telecom Mobile (STM) and 60% of its fixed line sister company Sakhalin Telecom (ST) for a total cash price of USD56.2 million. 61.4% of STM and the entire ST stake was purchased from UK-based Cable & Wireless. Vimpelcom intends to integrate STM with its other Russian wireless businesses, but plans to sell on ST in the near future. STM’s GSM-1800 and D-AMPS licences cover around 550,000 people in and around Sakhalin in the Far East ‘super region’, and the cellco had an estimated 96,000 subscribers at the end of June, of which 95,500 were GSM users. Vimpelcom says it is now operating in 76 of Russia’s 89 regions.
Meanwhile, Vimpelcom has set a date of 15 August for an EGM to discuss its expansion plans for Ukraine. The meeting will effectively take the form of a showdown between majority shareholders the Alfa Group and Telenor of Norway, with the former pushing for aggressive expansion against the latter’s wishes.