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Vimpelcom rebrands as Veon, sets new company direction

Veon_logoRussian service provider VimpelCom has rebranded to Veon as part of its efforts to transform itself “from a telco to a global tech company”.

Veon said it is undergoing a “reinvention” based around the rollout of its new Veon-branded internet platform – a service that it launched in Italy in Q4 2016 and now aims to bring to all its markets by the end of 2017.

“Veon will offer exciting services delivered by the best global digital brands. The platform will introduce a new generation of consumers, in the markets of tomorrow, to the mobile internet,” said the company in a statement.

The internet platform is designed to let users stay connected for free, no matter the status of their data plan – even when they are out of credit – and uses data analytics and artificial intelligence to “put the user in control”.

Veon is developing partnerships with consumer and business brands in a bid to transform the personal internet experience for customers in emerging markets, and today announced deals with Studio+, Deezer and Mastercard.

“The launch of Veon, our new internet platform, will bring genuinely free messaging services, a fresh digital engagement model and new services from music to banking to consumers,” commented Veon CEO Jean-Yves Charlier.

In a new mission statement posted to the Vimpelcom website the company said: “The telecom industry has struggled in recent years. As a sector we have not reinvented ourselves and have been significantly disrupted by innovative startups. For VimpelCom these problems were exacerbated by our poor financial performance and inefficient operations.

“Thanks to a new world-class management team we have rebuilt our financial and operational foundations. We are now in a much better position with an improved capital structure and stronger operating companies. This progress gives us unique advantages to disrupt from within and have specifically stayed clear of bolt-on acquisitions, media plays or standalone innovation units.”

The company announced its rebrand alongside its fourth quarter 2016 results, in which it reported total revenue of US$2.35 billion and EBITDA of US$783 million. This represented year-on-year organic declines of 0.2% and 2.5% respectively.

The newly-named Veon is headquartered in Amsterdam and claims to provide more than 200 million customers with voice, fixed broadband, data and digital services across 13 markets: Russia, Pakistan, Algeria, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Laos and Italy.

The company operates under the Beeline, Jazz, Djezzy, Kyivstar and Banglalink brands and owns 50% of a joint venture in Italy which operates under the WIND and 3 brands.