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VimpelCom 

“Market Cap $15.9 B As of May 2014

At a Glance

  • Industry: Telecommunications services
  • Founded: 1992
  • Country: Netherlands
  • CEO: Jo Olav Lunder
  • Website: www.vimpelcom.com
  • Employees: 58,184
  • Sales: $21.9 B
  • Headquarters: Amsterdam

Forbes Lists

#682 Global 2000

  • #428 in Sales
  • #470 in Assets
  • #710 in Market value
Profile

VimpelCom Ltd. is an integrated telecommunications service operator. The company provides voice and data services through a range of traditional and broadband mobile and fixed technologies in Russia, Italy, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Algeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and Canada. It provides services under the following brands: Beeline, Kyivstar, djuice, Wind, Infostrada, Mobilink, Leo, banglalink, Telecel, and Djezzy. Its reporting structure is divided into five business units: Europe & North America, Russia, Ukraine, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Africa & Asia. The company was founded by Dmitri B. Zimin and Augie K. Fabela II in 1992 and is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

“VimpelCom History

The history of VimpelCom started when its co-founders, Dr. Dmitry Zimin and Augie K. Fabela II, came together to pioneer the Russian mobile industry.

At the invitation of MAK Vimpel, a Russian defense contractor, Mr. Fabela first visited Russia in 1991. It was during this period that he saw the significant opportunity for wireless in Russia. It was also when he met his future partner, Dr. Dmitri B. Zimin, a senior scientist at the Mints Radio Technical Institute, a division of MAK Vimpel. Inspired to do what everyone said couldn’t be done; Mr. Fabela and Dr. Zimin set out to accomplish their vision of bringing basic wireless communications to Russia. A young American entrepreneur who was only 25 years old and spoke no Russian and a 63-year-old Russian scientist who spoke no English, were determined to build an independent company with an entrepreneurial and pioneering spirit–which led to the founding of VimpelCom in 1992.

One year later, VimpelCom launched its first commercial network, a five base station system in Moscow, limiting sales to only 1,000 mobile phones in order to ensure quality of service. The commercial service was launched under the Beeline brand, a brand created by Mr. Fabela in late 1993 to differentiate the company as a youthful and fun company, rather than a technical company. Very soon, the Beeline brand became the choice for admirers of state-of-the-art technology and mobile fans. By its first anniversary, Beeline became the largest operator in Moscow, and its trademark was well-known in 20 Russian regions.

Together, VimpelCom’s founders built a successful company forged out of cultural diversity and based on a common passion to dream the impossible and to succeed. VimpelCom has since continued its long tradition as a leading innovator in communications, evolving to address changing industry dynamics and to capture growth opportunities. In the 1990s, the Company introduced two digital cellular communications standards to Russia and built a dual band GSM-900 / 1800 cellular network. In November 1996, our predecessor OJSC VimpelCom became the first Russian company since 1903 to list shares on the NYSE.

In 1999, VimpelCom led the emergence of the mass consumer market for wireless communications in Russia by introducing a prepaid packaged product solution. Then, in 2000, the Company continued to innovate with new technologies such as WAP (wireless application protocol) and BeeOnline – a multi-access Internet portal offering its customers a wide variety of wireless information and entertainment services. VimpelCom’s expansion in Russia accelerated in 2003. In April 2003, VimpelCom launched operations in St. Petersburg and by the end of that year had 55 regional networks in commercial operation and a total customer base in Russia exceeding 10 million.

In September 2004, VimpelCom began to implement its strategic plan to expand its operations into the CIS by acquiring over 50% of KaR-Tel, a mobile telecommunications services provider with a national GSM license in Kazakhstan. VimpelCom continued its growth strategy throughout 2005 and 2006 by acquiring URS in Ukraine, a stake in Tacom in Tajikistan, Buztel and Unitel in Uzbekistan, and stakes in Mobitel in Georgia and ArmenTel in Armenia.

VimpelCom also launched higher-speed technologies – GPRS and EDGE, as well as multimedia messaging service (MMS) – the first Russian operator to do so. Moreover, VimpelCom became one of the first European operators to launch a WLAN zone using SIM-authentication.

VimpelCom significantly enhanced its Russia and CIS operations in 2008 by acquiring Golden Telecom, a leading facilities-based provider of integrated telecommunications and Internet services in Russia. That same year, the Company acquired a 49.9 % stake in Euroset, the largest mobile retailer in Russia and the CIS, and in 2012 increased its ownership to 50%. And in April 2010, VimpelCom Ltd. was formed by combining OJSC VimpelCom and Ukraine’s leading mobile operator, Kyivstar.

This evolution took another significant step forward when in October 2010 VimpelCom signed a transformational agreement to combine with WIND TELECOM S.p.A., a leading international telecommunications company offering mobile, fixed, Internet and international communication services in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. This transaction, completed in April 2011, transformed VimpelCom into one of the largest mobile telecommunications providers in the world, positioning the Company to capitalize on strong growth in emerging markets, industry consolidation, and the rapid development of mobile data.

These actions have enabled VimpelCom to provide an integrated offering of voice and data services through a range of wireless, fixed and broadband technologies across the globe. Today, VimpelCom is one of the world’s largest telecommunications service operators, covering territories in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America.

On September 10, 2013, VimpelCom completed the transfer of its American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”) to the NASDAQ Global Select Market, shifting from the New York Stock Exchange and continuing to trade under the ticker symbol “VIP”. The switch to the NASDAQ Global Select Market placed VimpelCom amongst other important TMT and innovative growth companies while allowing for timely, actionable market information and considerable listing benefits and opening the opportunity for inclusion in the NASDAQ indices.

Over the course of its history, VimpelCom has significantly boosted the power of its platform with the strengths of its global scale and local market expertise. The Company follows a decentralized model based on the fundamental belief that all business is local. VimpelCom’s operations are managed by some of the most experienced, talented people in the industry, each of whom has deep knowledge of his or her local market. As we look ahead to the future, VimpelCom will continue to leverage its historical excellence in innovation and local expertise to capitalize on opportunities offered by its global scope and strength.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Vimpelcom.com

**Video published on YouTube by “VimpelCom Ltd.