VimpelCom to invest $1bn in Pakistan, create 5,000 jobs 

Operator's CEO shares plans for development in Pakistan following completion of deal that will see its Mobilink business merge with Warid Telecom.

VimpelCom on Thursday confirmed that it will invest US$1 billion in Pakistan over the next five years.
A spokesperson for the company told Total Telecom that VimpelCom chief executive Jean-Yves Charlier made the announcement at a press conference in Islamabad, backing up local press reports on the subject.

The figure will include a spend of $300 million in the coming 12 months.
The CEO also said that VimpelCom will create 5,000 new jobs in Pakistan over the five-year period. According to a Business Recorder piece shared by the telco, these jobs will come as a result of the establishment of 1,500 retail stores and mini-franchises.
Charlier undertook a two-day trip to Pakistan in the wake of the completion of the deal that will lead to the merger of its Mobilink operation with smaller rival Warid Telecom.

With regulatory clearances and closing conditions out of the way, the companies have begun the formal process of merging the two entities.
Together they had 50.1 million mobile customers as of the end of May, according to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), and a market share of 37.5%. The market's next largest player, Telenor, claimed 28.4% of the market at the same date.

The merged entity aims to boost its revenues in the country by expanding its network and offering compelling 3G and 4G services, but not by increasing prices, various local news outlets quoted Charlier as saying.

The $1 billion investment figure is separate from the $1 billion IT transformation project VimpelCom announced with Ericsson a month ago, the spokesperson said. However, Pakistan will be among the markets to benefit from the upgrade. The project spans VimpelCom's operations in 11 countries, and will see the telco upgrade its business support systems (BSS) to a digital stack in a bid to accelerate product and service development.
It will enable VimpelCom to launch new digital services geared towards the Pakistani market, particularly in the areas of entertainment, video, music and mobile financial services.

***Source: Total Telecom