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VimpelCom enters Cambodia mobile market in $28m deal

22 июля 2008

Russia's No. 2 cellular provider by users, OAO Vimpel Communications, Monday said it would enter the Cambodian mobile market as part of a wider push into Southeast Asia that began last year in Vietnam.

VimpelCom said it had paid $28 million for 90% of Sotelco, an operator licensed to provide services in the Global System for Mobile communications, or GSM, 900/1800 standard.

"The Cambodian mobile market offers attractive growth potential (with) 14 million people and low mobile penetration estimated at around 18%," VimpelCom's Chief Executive Alexander Izosimov said in a statement.

VimpelCom and arch rival OAO Mobile TeleSystems, or MTS, are searching for new growth areas as domestic growth slows.

As well as Asia, the operators have cited Africa among regions of potential interest, while MTS' parent company AFK Sistema is setting up a provider in India.

Monday's announcement follows news earlier this month that VimpelCom had agreed the terms of its joint venture in neighboring Vietnam, which it plans to use as a basis to expand into other nearby countries including Laos and Myanmar.

VimpelCom will invest more than $250 million in its Vietnamese project, taking a 40% stake. It hopes to attract 15 million to 20 million new customers there during the next five years, to add to the 54 million it currently services in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

In Cambodia, VimpelCom plans to have more than two million users, or 20% of the market, in three to four years, deputy chief executive Nikolai Pryanishnikov told a conference call. That will require investment of $200 million, he said.

There are five operators in Cambodia, although two are fringe players. Average monthly user revenues are around $10,$3 less than Vimpelcom's home market.

VimpelCom will launch services in Cambodia in around nine months, Pryanishnikov said. It has an option to buy the remaining 10% of Sotelco from a Cambodian entrepreneur.

VimpelCom's core owners are Norway's Telenor and Altimo, the telecoms arm of Russian conglomerate Alfa Group, from which it bought the 90% stake in Sotelco.

Vimpelcom's ADRs closed Friday up 0.3%, or 8 cents, at $27.20.

Источник: Total Telecom

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