Belarusian altnet VELCOM has acquired Minsk-based ISP Belinfonet and is now looking to start servicing its customers, transferring Ethernet and ADSL subscribers to its VELCOM tariff plans. The ISP’s finance director Andreas Graf is quoted as saying that the management of Belinfonet had decided to ‘consolidate the subscriber base with VELCOM’, which it hopes ‘will have a positive impact on the quality of the provision of communication services, and will also contribute to the expansion of the list of services offered to the provider’s customers.’ To smooth the transfer, the switchover will take place automatically, it says, with Belinfonet subscribers being granted preferential terms for the first six months after switching.
VELCOM, wholly owned by the A1 Telekom Austria Group, has been on the acquisition trail and this may not be its final foray. Having acquired Belarusian network operator Atlant Telecom and its subsidiary TeleSet from ZUBR Capital and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in December 2016, the owners announced a corporate restructuring exercise to transfer both units to a single legal entity, dubbed unitary enterprise (UE) VELCOM, effective 1 December 2017. Then, in April 2018, the altnet completed the purchase of a 97% controlling stake in Vitebsk-based regional cable TV and internet provider JSC Vitebsk Oblast Techno-Trade Center Garant (Garant). The move – first announced earlier that month – boosted the larger operator’s presence in the Vitebsk region, with VELCOM director Helmut Duz saying: ‘The purchase of the largest operator in the Vitebsk region is a logical step in the implementation of our strategy of providing convergent broadband services throughout the country. Garant has been active in the market in Vitebsk since 1961. We are glad that the company with such a rich experience and professional team has become part of VELCOM.’