Vimpelcom finalises Vietnam mobile JV

Vimpelcom, Russia's second largest mobile network operator, has finalised its mobile joint venture with Vietnamese state companies.

A Reuters report also said this will be the Russian carrier's launch pad for its Asian expansion.

Vimpelcom said it secured a 40% stake in the venture, called GTEL-Mobile, for an equity investment of €170 million (US$267 million), the Reuters report said.

Vietnam's state-owned Global Telecommunications Corporation and its unit GTEL TSC hold 51% and 9% of the GTEL-Mobile venture, the report said.

Vimpelcom is also considering buying a further 9 % stake in the venture from its Vietnamese partners and has preemptive 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 was quoted as saying.

'In case our Vietnamese partners are interested, it is possible that we do it together,' he added.

Vietnam licensed GTEL-Mobile to provide GSM-technology services in February this year, and the company now has to build telecoms infrastructure.

Vimpelcom said it estimated overall investment in GTEL-Mobile at €1.1 billion (US$1.8 billion) within the next five years. The company is aiming for a 15%-20% market share in that time, or around 20 million subscribers.

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