The Russian cellular operator Vimpelcom has added to its wireline assets, acquiring the 49% of alternative fixed line telco Corbina Telecom that it did not already own. The cellco paid Inure approximately USD404 for its 49% stake. Vimpelcom’s shares are held via its subsidiary Sovintel. Corbina has operations in 25 Russian regions, including Moscow and St Petersburg. Vimpelcom recently completed its buyout of wireline sister company Golden Telecom as it moves to create a group which can provide a full range of fixed line and wireless voice and data services.
Corbina has announced that it plans to launch its first IP-based television services in Moscow and other major Russian cities within the next few months. It is also looking to expand beyond Russia into the Commonwealth of Independent States. Corbina has partnered with Microsoft to deploy the Mediaroom IPTV platform, as it looks to provide a triple-play package of voice, internet and TV services.
Meanwhile, Vimpelcom released its first-quarter financial results today, reporting a 41.7% year-on-year rise in net operating revenues to USD2.11 billion. Operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) rose 47% to USD1.13 billion, while net income jumped 117% to USD601 million. The firm claimed 52.3 million active mobile subscribers at the end of March, up by 6.5 million from a year earlier; just over 42 million of the total customer base are in Russia, with the remainder at Vimpelcom’s other operations in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Georgia.
Alexander Izosimov, Chief Executive Officer of Vimpelcom, commented: ‘The first quarter of 2008 should be viewed as the beginning of a new era for Vimpelcom. Completion of the Golden Telecom acquisition has opened an entirely new set of growth opportunities which, when realised, should further strengthen our position in the Russian telecom sector.’