Russian state-controlled telecom operator Rostelecom has asked the government to apply the interconnection tariff reform not only to local and zonal calls, but also to intercity traffic, which will bring the operator preferences.
The operator said that otherwise a decree of President Vladimir Putin would be breached, as he had ordered creation of equal conditions for interaction of mobile and landline operators.
Rostelecom sent a letter with the suggestions to Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who was in charge of connection issues at the government.
Landline and mobile operators pay each other for call termination. Fees paid by fixed-line players to their cellular colleagues are not regulated, but payments made by mobile operators to big landline operators, occupying over 25% of traffic or numbering capacity in a region, are set by the government. As a result, cellular operators pay less.
The Communications and Mass Media Ministry worked out a draft ruling to make payments equal, and the idea was approved by the Federal Antimonopoly Service. Mobile operators will have to return Rostelecom what it has overpaid them, but the existing reading of the document stipulates the compensation only within a single region.
Andrei Rego, director of the regulatory risks department at mobile operator MTS, said Rostelecom’s initiative would force alternative connection operators – counting some 3,000 units in the country – to use intercity services of Rostelecom thanks to its preferences in work with mobile operators. Rostelecom could also offer a lower tariff for calls via its network.
Other operators of intercity and international connection – like MTS, MegaFon, VimpelCom or TransTeleCom – could not compete with Rostelecom, Rego said. The market of the intercity and international connection would be monopolized, which could result in an increase of subscriber tariffs, he said.
VimpelCom’s spokeswoman Anna Aybasheva said Rostelecom’s offer put it in a more advantageous position.
MegaFon’s spokeswoman Yulia Dorokhina said Rostelecom’s move was an effort to get money from other operators without providing service. The initiative could negatively influence the industry, she said. (Prime/Business World Magazine)
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