VimpelCom continues Russian Federation IPTV expansion push

Eastern Europe and Russia continue to embrace IPTV services in the new year with Russian mobile operator VimpelCom announcing it will launch a new service in the Tatarstan city of Zelenodolsk.

The operator said it would launch IPTV services that include as many as 230 Russian and foreign TV channels. Users must be subscribers of Beeline TV in the city.

VimpelCom, which has been playing in the mobile market since 1993 as the first – and largest – mobile operator in Moscow, launched the IPTV offering using its broadband service as part of a discounted double-play package. The company said HDTV set-top box rental is free, and said up to five thematic pay-TV packages are available to subscribers.

VimpelCom offers voice and data services through a range of wireless, fixed and broadband technologies globally and has become one of the world’s largest telecommunications service operators, covering territories in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. In Russia, it’s the second largest IPTV player with about 35% or the market compared to Rostelecom, which has a 55% share of IPTV there, according to J’Son & Partners Consulting.

The Russian IPTV market had some 3.4 million subscribers at the end of 2012, a household penetration of about 6% nationwide. By far, the highest penetration was in the Far Eastern Federal District, followed by the Ural Federal District and Southern Federal District. More than 32 million HH have used pay-TV services, with strong competition coming from cable and satellite players, which also have a higher penetration rate nationwide.

The most recent figures available show the Russian IPTV  growth, outstripped both the cable and satellite industry in 2012. IPTV subscripbership grew 62%, compared with growth of 3% for the country’s cable industry and 20% for satellite TV, according to a J’Son & Partners Consulting. J’Son & Partners say much of the competitive advantage IPTV has seen of late is tied to the interactive nature of its network deployments, offering a wider array of services – including over-the-top video options – to its customers.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn