Beeline is the trademark of the second largest cell-phone operator in Russian Federation, VimpelCom. Its headquarters are located in Moscow.
As of January 2005 Beeline has more than 25 million subscribers in 74 of 89 Russian regions, and in Kazakhstan, and less than 1% market share short of becoming the leader of the Russian cellular market in terms of subscriber base. Its revenue, profits and revenue per subscriber (ARPU) figures are slightly lower that competitor’s, Mobile TeleSystems’s, while being gradually improving in latest years.
Its current (As of July, 2008) license portfolio covers a territory where 97% of Russia’s population resides, as well as 100% of the territory of Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia and Armenia.
Vimpelcom was founded in 1992 and initially operated AMPS/D-AMPS network in Moscow area. In 1997 Vimpelcom was taken public by Russian-born American financier Leonid Rozhetskin, becoming the first Russian company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: VIP).
In 1997 the company began GSM network roll-out. In 2001 it started to start GSM networks throughout Russia’s regions, having gradually increased its regional presence to the majority of Russia’s territory.
In 2004, Vimpelcom, in its first move outside Russia’s territory, acquired Kazakhstani cellular operator KaR-Tel (brand names K-Mobile and Excess).
In November 2005 Vimpelcom stepped further with foreign acquisitions by acquiring 100% of Ukrainian RadioSystems, a marginal Ukrainian GSM operator operating under Wellcom and Mobi brands. The deal has been surrounded by a controversy involving two major shareholders of Vimpelcom: the Russian Alfa Group and Telenor, the incumbent telco in Norway.
In 2004, Vimpelcom CEO Alexander Izosimov, formerly a top Mars, Incorporated executive, was named the best Russian manager by the Managers Association of Russia.
Vimpelcom’s main competitors are Mobile TeleSystems and MegaFon.
One of the internationally known shareholders of Vimpelcom is Telenor, Norwegian telecom conglomerate.