Russian telco Vimpelcom, which operates under the Beeline brand, has confirmed that it has acquired a 100% stake in St. Petersburg-based fixed line operator Eltel for RUB1 billion (USD33.5 million). Eltel, which owns a 1,000km stretch of fibre-optic cable in St. Petersburg, covering more than 1,100 residential blocks and a significant number of commercial premises, currently has around 1,000 corporate subscribers and more than 25,000 residential broadband customers. Although it has yet to be confirmed, it is likely that the new acquisition will be re-branded in line with Vimpelcom’s Beeline product portfolio.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, cellco Vimpelcom entered the country’s broadband market in February 2008, when it completed the USD105 per share takeover of sister company Golden Telecom. The company is now one of Russia’s largest fixed line network operators and non-residential service providers, offering voice and data services to businesses and corporations, operators and carriers over its metropolitan overlay network covering major cities including Moscow, Kiev, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Kaliningrad, Krasnoyarsk, Almaty and Tashkent. In August 2010 Vimpelcom acquired alternative fixed line provider Foratek for RUB1.4 billion, including debt. Foratek Communication was one of the leading players in the Urals Federal District, owning more than 1,200 kilometres of fibre-optic networks.