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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Vimpelcom Q3 Profit Soars 78%

Profits at Vimpelcom, Russia's second-largest GSM operator, soared by 78 percent in the third quarter, year-on-year, a record result, vice president Nikolai Pryanishnikov said Thursday.

Net profits reached $72.2 million on revenues of $387.9 million as compared to profits of $40.5 million on revenues of $221.1 million for the same period last year. Analysts attributed the spike to the company's growing subscriber base that has increased by 3.6 million in one year.

Russia's mobile market has seen unprecedented growth this year as levels of disposable income increase and Russia's three nationwide operators, MTS, Vimpelcom and Megafon, expand their networks into the regions.

Vimpelcom provides coverage in 47 of Russia's 89 regions and will add another eight regions to its network, predominantly in the Urals, Volga and Siberian regions by year's end, Pryanishnikov said.

Although providing GSM services will continue to be Vimpelcom's focus, operators have started talking about the implementation of Third Generation, or 3G, technologies.

Communications Minister Leonid Reiman said Wednesday that the ministry might issue 3G licenses next year. His previous statements have suggested they will not be auctioned as they were in Western Europe where a number of operators went into heavy debt when they paid billions of dollars for licensing.

"I support Reiman's stance, his opposition to auctioning the licenses is wise," Pryanishnikov said. "We are going to go into the market very carefully, calculating our every step."

"The Russian market will move in step with the European market, but perhaps not as fast as in Asia," he added.

MTS officials said they were also considering 3G services, which have superior data transfer capabilities, but said at a press conference Wednesday they would not rush into the market.