Things are looking awfully good in the Russian communications market these days. The No. 2 wireless services provider, Vimpel Communications (NYSE:VIP), kept the good times rolling with its first-quarter earnings release today, showing why emerging wireless markets are still a lucrative place to be.

VimpelCom pleased Wall Street with quarterly revenue of $1.49 billion and earnings of $277.3 million, up 59% and 85% year over year. The Russian carrier that operates the Beeline brand of wireless services reported strong year-over-year growth in a number of metrics, which looked impressive even when compared sequentially to the seasonally strong fourth quarter.

VimpelCom's operating metrics look quite different this quarter, though. Like many U.S. operators, such as Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T), VimpelCom is now slicing and dicing its metrics for better analysis. The company has made a change to report ARPU and minutes-of-use (MOU) statistics based only on its active subscriber base, and not those that have gone inactive. This confuses comparisons a little, but will give a better picture of operations in the future.

Speaking of operations, the carrier reported flat revenue and ARPU in the already saturated Russian market, which actually bodes well in a seasonally weak period. But even better is the 8% drop in operating costs, which helped VimpelCom boost margins and earnings in the region substantially. VimpelCom is holding up very well against its primary competitor in the Russian market, Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT), which reports next week.

The picture in VimpelCom's other operating markets continues to look promising, as well. Active subscribers in Kazakhstan grew 15% sequentially, while net income rose 236% to $13.1 million from the same quarter last year. Revenue from growing markets in the Ukraine and Uzbekistan also grew sequentially by 10% and 14%, respectively. The company showed good progress in developing operations in these under-penetrated markets, and its market share has grown in each region.

As far as execution, VimpelCom appears to be right in stride with other top wireless operators around the world such as Mexico's America Movil (NYSE:AMX) and South Korea's SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM). The huge base of cash-flowing customers in Russia, coupled with the growing Eastern European markets, make VimpelCom an attractive consideration.

More Foolish Russian rambling can be found here:

SK Telecom is one foreign telecom the Motley Fool Global Gains team has recommended to beat the market. Global Gains lead analyst Bill Mann departs for China, India, and Taiwan on June 2 in search of new investment opportunities in some of the world's fastest-growing economies. Get updates and analysis live from the field by sending Bill an email at

Fool contributor Dave Mock rolls with the good and bad times -- what else can you do? He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Dave is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.