10:29 | 25.12.09 | Interviews | exclusive 3929

“We have significantly improved service quality”

Exclusive interview of “VimpelCom” OJSC Vice-President on Business Development in CIS Dmitri Kromskoy to Mediamax Agency and Itel.am portal

Dmitri Kromskoy was appointed Vice-President of “VimpelCom” OJSC on Business Development in CIS on December 13. He had previously headed Beeline operations in Kazakhstan as the General Director of “Kar-Tel” LLC (Beeline trademark). He gave the first interview on the new position to Mediamax Agency.

- What is your general assessment of “VimpelCom” OJSC work in CIS markets, and, according to you, in which of CIS markets has Beeline reached greatest success?

- If we speak about the Group of Companies in general, we can state that development was dynamic following the results of three quarters of 2009. As compared to the same period in 2008, our proceeds increased by 4% in Rubles, and in local currencies, taking into account the difference in exchange rate, we registered greater growth – from 5 to 13%.

If we speak about particular markets, it is difficult to single out any of them, since all our companies were quite successful. For instance, in Kazakhstan we started integration of mobile and landline business, and in October we launched FTTB (FTTB (Fiber to the Building) sales, built the first segment in Alma-Ata, where the service is in great demand, and we are very pleased with such a start.

FTTB segment also develops in Ukraine: we had over 70 thousand subscribers in this sector as of the end of the third quarter, and our Ukrainian operator is considered one of the leaders in the country as to provision of internet services.

- What is your assessment of “ArmenTel” work? What are the strengths of the company?

- We have demonstrated quite good results in the III quarter, the incomes increased by 5% in local currency, as compared to the II quarter. I believe that the third quarter of 2009 was successful, and we mainly focused on development of sales offices during the third quarter. “ArmenTel” Management managed to quickly develop the network of these offices, at that, we not only opened offices, but also organized their functioning at a high level.

We significantly improved service quality, and this fact already gives tangible results. “ArmenTel” is the only integrated operator in Armenia, which provides mobile and landline services to corporate customers. Broadband internet access of Hi Line develops quite successfully. 

- To what degree has the quality of the company’s work changed with the arrival of its new management?

- The fact is that somewhat different tasks were set for the previous management. When Beeline had just arrived in Armenia, there was the need to reconstruct, bring business processes in compliance with “VimpelCom” standards and create new approaches for functioning in the market.

The new Management faces the task of securing serious growth, and this is why “ArmenTel” team pays much attention to the marketing factor now, to consolidating Beeline’s image and securing efficiency of operations.

- Dmitri Pleskonos, your predecessor on this position, noted that the Greek management of “ArmenTel” had handed down heavy legacy with bad reputation to you. According to you, did the new management manage to overcome that image?

- I believe that it has managed to do that. Indeed, when we entered the Armenian market, we faced the fact that the company had the image of an operator providing bad quality service. The complex of measures, which we have taken over these years, helped create a new brand, which meets certain standards for service provision. I believe that the image of the company has already taken the positive path. Of course, one should work over this issue: one cannot completely change the image in the course of 1-2 years.

- The arrival of Orange to Armenia caused a new impetuous wave of competition in telecommunication market in the country. How adequate was the reaction of “ArmenTel” to the new realities of the market?

- Orange is quite a strong player with significant experience of work in Europe and in other countries. This is a very serious competitor, and we had been waiting for its arrival and had taken the corresponding measures to compete with it in a civilized manner. I believe that we have gotten ready well, preparing a number of interesting offers for various segments of the market.

- Beeline’s subscriber base in Armenia reduced by 36% in the II quarter, 2009, as compared to the analogous period in 2008. “ArmenTel” share in the market of mobile connection made about 20%. How can you comment on these indices?

- To put it simply, we have made a transition from quantity to quality. To correctly assess the subscriber base, one should know the exact number of “active” subscribers, eliminating those, who do not use their SIM-card at all, but who are included in the base. We have cleaned the base from idle subscribers and now, possessing correct data, we have set ourselves the task of securing increase.

- Which one our of activity directions – mobile connection, landline connection or Broadband internet access, is the most promising one for “ArmenTel”?

- I believe that one should continue focusing on all three directions. Naturally, the segment, which grows with the highest speed, is Broadband internet access and this is why we will pay special attention to this direction. We will also work over convergent solutions both for business and for individuals.

- What are the main tasks you set for “ArmenTel” leadership for 2010?

- It should remain the largest connection operator, continue development, pay special attention to service quality and focus on advanced technologies.

Development should take place in all basic directions of our activity in Armenia. Mobile connection remains in the focus of our attention and in order to grow in the segment, we should find new possibilities, implement new services, actively offer services basing on the third generation network (3G). We will also sell USB modems, develop mobile internet and landline network.

- While having conversations with us, professional participants of the Armenian stock market have repeatedly stated that if Beeline and “VivaCell-MTS” entered the security market, the number of their shareholders would exceed 1mln only in Armenia. Does “VimpelCom” OJSC consider such a prospect for “ArmenTel”?

- “VimpelCom”, being the main shareholder of “ArmenTel”, is quoted on New York Stock Exchange, and we do not consider an individual entry of a subsidiary company to the exchange. Besides, now there is a new company being established – “VimpelCom Limited”, which will be quoted on New York Stock Exchange instead of “VimpelCom”. We consider it reasonable for the entire holding to be quoted on exchange.