Nov 5, 2022
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Do you have a mobile phone tied to Beeline? Expect adventure

Do you have a mobile phone tied to "Beeline"?  Expect adventure

Photo: Elena Afonina / TASS

Owners of SIM cards of the Beeline brand became worried – the mobile operator VimpelCom is clearly not doing very well, besides, the company is put up for sale. The once industry leader has fallen to last place in terms of subscriber base, moreover, users sometimes complain about problems with the quality of services provided. During the year, 4 million people defected from the company to other mobile operators (OPSOS), and it is not clear what will happen next.

According to the results of the third quarter of 2022, VimpelCom (Beeline brand) sank significantly, and in all respects. Decreased revenue, decreased customer base, etc. And, most importantly, the company, which was once the industry leader, fell back to the last fourth line in the OPSOS rating. T2 RTK Holding (Tele2 brand, a subsidiary of Rostelecom) bypassed the bee in terms of the number of subscribers.

However, it all started not yesterday, and not even the day before yesterday. A number of unsuccessful investment projects eventually resulted in a huge debt that hangs on the company. The company owes everyone about $8 billion, and no one really knows what the value of its business is – there are different estimates that differ significantly. But clearly less than this figure.

True, ordinary users do not care about such subtleties. Here is the quality of communication – yes, it is important. Highly. And coverage, too. Alas, here the competitors jumped Beeline, and the data on the number of SIM cards is a clear confirmation of this.

“The decrease in the subscriber base was due to the transformation of the company’s business format. We are gradually moving away from the business in the distribution format to the service and customer-oriented sales. We have begun to manage SIM card shipments more demandingly, removing sales tools such as “sampling” (distribution of goods as a bonus) or “giveaways” as part of our long-term strategy. The implementation of these tasks directly affects the indicator of the total base of mobile subscribers in the company’s reporting. Today, in the telecommunications market, tens of millions of sales of SIM cards are not related to a real client, ”says the CEO of VimpelCom Alexander Torbakhov.

Let’s say. However, with approximately the same tariffs and other conditions, as well as in equal external conditions (the economy of the Russian Federation as a whole), for some reason only Beeline loses customers. At the same time, despite such a huge debt, they are trying to sell VimpelCom. Trying is not torture…

“Veon Ltd., a global digital operator providing converged connectivity and online services, today announces a competitive sales process for its Russian operation.

Veon management is currently exploring options to ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved for all stakeholders, including Veon, its Russian operations, its shareholders, creditors, customers and employees both in and outside of Russia,” the statement reads. company from the Netherlands, which is the owner of VimpelCom.

The jurisdiction is the most “unfriendly”, although the owners are mostly Russian. 47.85% of Veon shares are owned by the Luxembourg firm LetterOne, which is owned by “oligarchs” Mikhail Fridman, German Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev. The withdrawal of capital from Russia in its purest form. By the way, Veon also owns the Ukrainian operator Kyivstar. But for some reason, billionaires do not want to get rid of him.

But ordinary users and it is not interesting. Yes, “mobile slavery” has been canceled, and you can switch to any other operator with your number. But any body movements always cause inconvenience. Much more interesting when it happens on its own. And the money in the account will not “burn out”.

VimpelCom will not be allowed to fall apart just like that – debts need to be paid off. The coverage of the operator is solid, there is a lot of equipment, all services are established – that is, it is quite an asset. State importance. 46 million clients, including various government agencies, which, by the way, is strange. Why on earth a foreign office got access to them is not very clear …

So, there are two options – either they buy or they don’t buy. Let’s say they buy it. But what exactly, how, and, most importantly, why?

The above equipment, customer base, competent staff – yes, assets. Valuable. Especially equipment, it is now in great short supply. sanctions, however. But according to the “wolf” laws of business, it is much more profitable to negotiate with the company’s creditors, they will bankrupt the aforementioned legal entity, and the Basmanny (or other) court will rule on the sale of its property. This will go to the investor. Inexpensive, and, most importantly, without any encumbrance. Nothing personal, it’s just business.

What will change for a simple user? But nothing. It will automatically move to another OPPS. IT-shniks will also simply receive new entries in work books, all sorts of installers and other necessary specialists in the same way, and numerous managers of the middle (and not only) level will be fired. That’s where they go.

It was the most logical and competent option. But Russia is a wonderland. Obviously, billionaires will try to sell their property to someone at a high price, but it’s not a fact that it will work out.

“Veon expected to sell VimpelCom by 2020 for $3 billion, but there was no buyer for that kind of money. Beeline’s subscriber base has been declining for several years, so now Veon can ask for $2 billion for its asset. Even for that kind of money, you won’t be able to quickly find a buyer, ”says the managing partner of the Typhoon Digital Development venture fund Oleg Bratyshko.

There are other estimates of a possible deal. Three and a half years ago, in more prosperous times for everyone, Veon was already trying to sell VimpelCom. But Rostelecom did not appreciate such a proposal. Expensive.

Non-core investors do not count, anyone is unlikely to agree to get into this business. Especially in VimpelCom with its debts and intricate economic structures. There is no point. Professionals, in theory, should do the above. That is, lay a paw on the assets of the company. It is not a fact that Beeline will be bought even for a symbolic $1 or no less symbolic ruble. Debts can be many times more.

However, given the lobbying capabilities of the “oligarchs”, as well as the “interests” of our officials, an attempt to hang the company on the Russian budget is not ruled out. And with all the debts.

What will happen to customers and equipment in this case is unclear. Most likely, the people will be asked to be patient, and the equipment will be ruined and plundered. Specialists will scatter, but managers will just remain.

“In the end, the operator’s business may not be in demand – it will be easier to transfer subscribers to the networks of Beeline’s competitors. And the equipment that is not currently supplied to Russia can be used to retrofit other cellular networks,” the head of the Content-Review project believes. Sergei Polovnikov.

So, option number 2 – no one buys anything. There’s definitely nothing good here. Dutch heers are kicking Veon for having assets in the Russian Federation, Russian authorities are kicking Vimpelcom for “enemy” shareholders. In the end, it’s bad for everyone. However, attempts to create a “puppet” legal entity and rewrite the company to it are unlikely to work, as creditors may oppose this. As a result, the protracted agony and bankruptcy is no longer so much a decent looking company. Also tearing apart equipment, but already more shabby.

In the interests of Russia, the option of “euthanasia” looks best – bankruptcy and sale of assets. Specialists are attached, customers too, and scarce equipment is in business. Let’s see how it turns out.

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