Vimpelcom goes Vietnamese

9 Jul 2008

Vimpelcom says it has acquired a 40% stake in new mobile operator GTEL-Mobile for USD267 million, reports Reuters. State-owned GTEL and subsidiary GTEL TSC hold the remaining 51% and 9% respectively, although the Russian operator is considering buying a further 9% from its Vietnamese partners and has pre-emptive rights to do so. ‘Vietnam will be a key market for us. We will be looking for further development possibilities based on the Vietnamese operations,’ Vimpelcom CEO Alexander Izosimov said in a conference call. Over the next five years Vimpelcom plans to invest USD1.8 billion in the cellco, which was licensed in February 2008. The new operator is aiming for 20 million customers by 2013, giving it a projected 15% to 20% share of the subscriber market. Izosimov said his company was also interested in launching services in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, where mobile phone penetration is still low.