GTEL Mobile forms new brand to replace Beeline

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GTEL Mobile announced on Monday it will replace its existing mobile network brand Beeline with a new brand called Gmobile from next month.

The announcement was made five months after the Russian investor in GTEL Mobile, global telecom giant VimpelCom, sold its 49 percent stake, which is worth US$45 million, to a subsidiary of its local partner.

As part of the deal, GTEL Mobile could continue to use the Beeline brand during a six-month transition period, which will end in October 2012.

Beeline, GTEL Mobile's former trademark, will not be used in the  Vietnamese market from late October 2012, ending a six-month transition period after Global Telecommunications Corporation's subsidiary bought US$45 million share from VimpelCom Ltd.

GTEL Mobile, which is now wholly owned by Ministry of Public Security, told local media that the new brand would keep the two basic colors of yellow and black while changing most parts of Beeline's brand identification.

Nguyen Van Du, CEO of GTEL Mobile, told VnEconomy that his small network still has a chance to compete with the three dominating service providers Mobifone, Vinaphone and Viettel as the market is still on the rise.

Du said his network has 3.2 million subscribers, which is expected to increase by 36 percent by the end of this year.

Launched since July 2007, Beeline shares five percent of the total mobile subscriptions in Vietnam with other small networks including Vietnamobile, the fourth largest mobile network. Mobifone, Vinaphone and Viettel account for 95 percent.

A VnExpress report quoted VimpelCom's statistics as saying that average revenue per user (ARPU) for Beeline in Vietnam was just $0.9 in the last quarter of 2011. This is the lowest among the VimpelCom's markets.

According to VnExpress, the ARPU of Viettel and Mobifone were $4 and $5, respectively.

Jo O. Lunder, VimpelCom's CEO, said in a press release late April that his company's decision to sell its stakes in GTEL Mobile was "a result of [assessing value of all the operations to the whole group], which focuses on allocating capital to those markets where we see the best opportunities to generate shareholder value."

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