Russian telecoms group Vimpelcom has announced the commercial launch of its mobile operations in Vietnam via its joint stock company Gtel Mobile. The company has introduced wireless services under Vimpelcom’s Beeline brand to around 15 million people in Vietnam’s three largest provinces, Hanoi, HCM City and Danang. By the end of 2009 Gtel Mobile hopes to expand network coverage to more than 40 provinces, with a combined population of around 41 million. ‘With the start of our operations in Vietnam we are strengthening our positions in South-East Asia,’ said Boris Nemsic, CEO of VimpelCom, adding, ‘The Vietnamese telecom market has a great potential with a young and dynamic population of more than 86 million people and a fast growing economy. Our partnership with such a reliable and professional local partner as GTEL Corp helped us achieve the result we had planned.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, GTel is a BCC joint venture between Russian mobile group Vimpelcom and Vietnamese state-owned vehicles Global Telecommunications Corporation (GTEL) and its subsidiary GTEL TSC. In July 2008 Vimpelcom acquired a 40% stake in the venture for USD267 million; GTEL and 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.