URS re-launches as BeeLine, plans USD500 million investment

12 Apr 2006

Mobile operator Ukrainian Radio Systems (URS), a 100% subsidiary of Russia’s Vimpelcom, re-launched GSM services yesterday under the BeeLine brand name. URS President Sergey Mironov said that the BeeLine network covered more than 600 towns and cities at launch, and by the end of 2006 will cover 80% of the population. Sales offices have opened in six regions of Ukraine, and will eventually be expanded nationwide. The cellco aims to increase its subscriber base to between five million and six million by mid-2008 through an estimated USD500 million investment, based on subscriber acquisition costs of USD100 per new user. According to GlobalComms, URS had 256,849 subscribers at the end of December 2005, or 0.86% of the market. Market leader Kyivstar, owned by Vimpelcom shareholders Telenor and Alfa, accounted for 13.925 million subscribers, a 46.38% market share. Second placed Ukrainian Mobile Communications (UMC) was close behind URS with 13.33 million customers (44.39%), whilst Astelit (including DCC) claimed 2.46 million users (8.19%). The Ukrainian arm of Russia’s Golden Telecom is the country’s smallest cellco, with around 55,000 subscribers at end-2005.