Nikolai Pryanishnikov, the first vice-president of VimpelCom, which operates mobile-telephone services under its BeeLine brand name, commented on the company's expansion plans in an interview. He announced that during the first three weeks of September, VimpelCom-R, which is actively expanding into the regions, launched five affiliates for commercial use - in Tver, Vladimir, Ryazan, Kaluga and Lipetsk. "We're determined to keep up this high tempo in the future", he was quoted as saying VimpelCom-R is setting up affiliates in other regions where its license is valid, specifically in the North Caucasus, the Volga area and Siberia. Areas where the company is licensed to operate accommodate 68 percent of the country's population, some 100 million people. Toward the end of this year, BeeLine GSM networks will appear in Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Rostov, Nizhny Novgorod, Belgorod, Samara, Novokuznetsk, Saratov, Smolensk and many other cities. The program of regional expansion, supported by Alfa-Group, is estimated to cost $337 million. All affiliates will operate the BeeLine GSM brand, the Russia Journal reported.