Mobile telecommunications operator VimpelCom has recently been expanding aggressively into Russia's regions. According to J'son & Partners, the company's regional subscriber base (excluding Moscow) grew by 35% in January. However, with 1,740,000 regional subscribers VimpelCom continues to lag behind rivals MTS (3,818,000) and MegaFon (2,870,633).
In December 2002, VimpelCom constructed 260 base stations in the regions, and over November and December 2002 the company launched several new regional networks. It is currently constructing a network in St. Petersburg, which will be launched in the spring. According to Sotovik.ru, VimpelCom has also struck a deal to but a 50% stake in Primtelefon, a Vladivostok-based operator holding a licence for the entire Far East. After the deal is completed, VimpelCom will have 100% coverage in Russia, matching an achievement so far reached only by MegaFon.
J'son & Partners and Sotovik are Moscow-based companies offering analysis of the Russian mobile phone sector.