Antitrust wants natl roaming issue closed in Jan, intra-net in May
MOSCOW, Dec 27 (PRIME) -- Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service hopes cases on national roaming will be finally closed in January 2018 after receiving suggestions from mobile operators, and the issue with the abolition of intra-network roaming will be solved in May 2018, the authority’s Deputy Director Anatoly Golomolzin told reporters on Wednesday.
“The cases (on national roaming) opened by the Federal Antimonopoly Service against the big four (MTS, MegaFon, VimpelCom, and T2 RTK Holding) are coming to an end. We hope they will be closed in January, and we have first results. VimpelCom has announced a reduction in tariffs for connection services in national roaming. These tariffs are fully economically justified and close to the tariffs imposed by this operator in a home region,” Golomolzin said.
“In the first place, it will benefit trips of citizens to Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.”
National roaming applies when an operator uses other carriers’ networks in a region where it lacks resources.
The authority expects MTS, MegaFon, and T2 RTK Holding to submit similar suggestions to the service in January 2018. “If no moves are made and no tariff plans are published, the commission on violations of the antimonopoly law will consider a number of matters, if necessary, including issuance of a warrant or withdrawal of an illegally received income,” the executive said.
“We hope the connection operators will do it voluntarily, and the matter will be finally settled in January 2018.”
To make this happen, connection operators had to come to terms on inter-operator agreements on roaming and reduce rates.
“The other topic is intra-network roaming (when an operator uses different tariffs for different regions), when subscribers travel across the country and use networks of the same operator. Until recently, tariffs applied by operators in other regions had hugely varied from those in a home region. We issued a warrant to the connection operators, which are preparing offers on cutting down prices in intra-network roaming,” Golomolzin said.
“Certain operators have already made corresponding announcements, and we’re waiting for news from the others. We plan to prolong the period to fulfil our warrant for three connection operators until January 31, 2018. We expect the operators to voice the final level of tariffs in intra-network roaming and a plan to gradually cut their prices,” Golomolzin said.
Yelena Zayeva, head of the connection and IT department at the service, said that the period could be extended for T2 RTK Holding till May 2018.
Golomolzin said that the process will be monitored, and no later than in May 2018 this problem will be finally solved. “We should say that already now tariffs in intra-network roaming are often in line with those in a home region,” he said.
T2 RTK Holding has the highest number of tariffs complying with the zero intra-network roaming policy, which Golomolzin explained by the fact that the operator was the latest to enter the local mobile market and had to keep attractive prices to gain subscribers.
MegaFon, VimpelCom, and MTS follow and are expected to share their ideas on the abolition of intra-network roaming and necessary measures in January 2018.
On Thursday, the antitrust service will meet with the four big operators and the Communications and Mass Media Ministry to get documented all agreements on the abolition of roaming.
Golomolzin said separately that the question of cancellation of roaming is also discussed within the Eurasian Economic Union, which also comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, Golomolzin said.