Delta partners with Virgin to tap Russia

Delta Partners, the regional telecoms advisory and investment firm, yesterday said it is entering the Russian telecommunications market in collaboration with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group to establish a new broadband access provider, known as Virgin Connect.

Delta Partners has invested in Trivon Group, a Swiss telecoms holding company providing internet access services in main Russian regions, jointly with Virgin Group and Eurasia Capital Management. Virgin Connect will provide broadband internet connectivity, voice and value-added services to both residential and corporate markets. The company, which holds the requested licences and frequencies for WiMAX-based services, is currently deploying its WiMAX network in 32 Russian regions including the main cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg.

With a population close to 140 million, Delta Partners estimates the Russian telecommunications market at more than $35 billion (Dh128.56bn).

"We truly believe there is a huge opportunity to generate value for Russian customers through the deployment of innovative propositions that will significantly contribute to the rapid development of the broadband market," said Kristoff Puelinckx, managing partner, Delta Partners. "While the broadband market in Russia is still under-penetrated, it is expected to reach 35 per cent penetration in the next five years. This presents a huge potential in establishing a global brand in an emerging market such as Russia."

Sir Richard said: "I am delighted to announce Virgin's first business in Russia – Virgin Connect. We have entered Russia with Virgin Connect because we believe the potential for growth in the broadband market is extremely exciting."