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15 Nov 1999

VimpelCom marks third anniversary of NYSE listing amidst record subscriber growth

Moscow Subscriber Base Surpasses 245,000 - Nearly Doubling Since Year End 1998

Moscow and New York (November 15, 1999) - Open Joint Stock Company "Vimpel-Communications" ("VimpelCom" or the "Company") (NYSE: VIP) today celebrates the third anniversary of its listing on the NYSE and reports interim subscriber figures through November 15, 1999.

On November 15, 1996, VimpelCom became the first Russian company since 1903 to list its stock on the NYSE when the Company completed its initial public offering ("IPO") of American Depositary Receipts ("ADRs") representing shares of its common stock. VimpelCom is the only Russian company with a Level III ADR program, the highest form available to foreign issuers. VimpelCom has successfully established itself as a model Russian company with unparalleled transparency towards its shareholders, regulators and the investment community.

In celebrating its NYSE listing anniversary, the Company reported that as of today its Moscow subscriber base exceeded 245,000. This represents almost a doubling from the 124,000 subscribers reported as of December 31, 1998. VimpelCom also reported that its churn rate had stabilized to less than 25% in annualized terms. Recently, the Company also announced that it had set up pilot GSM systems in each of the Company's four GSM licensed "super" regions of Russia, namely, Central and Central Black Earth Region, Volga Region, North Caucasus Region and Siberian Region. Together with Moscow, VimpelCom's licenses cover a population base of over 100 million.

Commenting on today's events, Dmitri Zimin, President and Chief Executive Officer of VimpelCom said, "I would like to congratulate and thank everyone who has contributed to our success since we listed our stock on the NYSE three years ago. In our relatively short operating history, we have experienced a number of milestones, as well as times of setback, largely as a result of the economic crisis in Russia. We have been striving to regain momentum in 1999, and our doubling of subscribers since the beginning of the year is a clear sign of a successful change in the cellular market dynamics in Moscow."

VimpelCom's subscriber growth has increased in 1999 largely as a result of an influx of prepaid card subscribers who have been attracted to VimpelCom's marketing and promotions. In 1999, the Company has continued to reduce its prices for handsets and air time, and recently experienced a surge in subscriber growth through its pre-paid "phone-in-a-box" program, which allows customers to buy an activated phone "off-the-shelf". As the Russian economy improves, the Company's prospects for further subscriber growth in Moscow and the regions look promising.

VimpelCom expects to report net losses for 1999 and the first half of 2000 due to the lagging effects of the Russian economic crisis, as well as expenses and falling average revenue per subscriber ("ARPU") associated with the creation of the mass market pre-paid segment.

Zimin concluded, "Our strategy is to continue to focus on rapid subscriber growth and market expansion to create a solid foundation for the future of wireless communications in Russia and thereby increase value for our shareholders."

Third quarter 1999 earnings are expected to be published December 8, 1999.

VimpelCom is a leading provider of cellular telecommunications in Russia, marketing its services under the brand name "Bee Line". The VimpelCom Group operates GSM-900/1800 and Digital-AMPS cellular networks in the Moscow License Area, which includes the City of Moscow and the Moscow Region. The Group is also building cellular networks in its other licensed territories. The VimpelCom Group holds cellular licenses covering a total population of approximately 100 million (70% of Russia's population). VimpelCom was the first Russian company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (November 1996), and its ADRs trade under the symbol "VIP".

This press release contains forward-looking statements related to the development of the Company's business which involve risks and uncertainties. These statements are based on Management's best assessment of future market conditions and trends. The actual outcome may differ materially from these statements as a result of unforeseen developments from competition, governmental regulations of the wireless telecommunications industry, general political uncertainties in Russia and general economic developments in Russia and other factors, all of which may be aggravated by the current economic and political crisis. No assurance can be given that the economic crisis will abate in the foreseeable future or that the full impact of the economic crisis on the VimpelCom Group can be assessed at this time. As a result of such uncertainties, there can be no assurance that current or future changes in the political, economic and social environment or current or future regulation of the Russian telecommunications industry will not have a material adverse effect on the VimpelCom Group. Certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in any forward-looking statements include the risks described in the Company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 1998 and other public filings made by the Company with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, which risk factors are incorporated herein by reference. VimpelCom disclaims any obligation to update developments of these risk factors or to announce publicly any revision to any of the forward-looking statements contained in this release, or to make corrections to reflect future events or developments.

 

For more information, please contact:
Valery Goldin
VimpelCom (Moscow)
7(095) 974-5888
vgoldin@vimpelcom.com

Glenn Wiener
Edelman Financial Worldwide
1 (212) 704 8174
glenn_wiener@edelman.com

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