Interconnect increase

11 Jul 2006

Russia’s three largest cellular operators, MTS, Vimpelcom and MegaFon, have increased interconnection charges for calls between their own networks and those of regional cellcos. The fees will rise from USD0.01 per minute to USD0.04 per minute according to a report from Prime Tass, which cites business daily Kommersant. However, the interconnection charge for calls made between the big three operators’ networks will rise to just USD0.035. An unnamed executive at one of the trio of operators commented: ‘Regional mobile operators have been dumping on the market for a long time, at our expense as well; now everything will be fair.’ The rise in interconnect charges is likely to be passed on by the regional operators to their subscribers. Regional operators say the market leaders could be guilty of price fixing and abusing their dominant positions. Between them MTS, Vimpelcom and MegaFon control around 86% of Russia’s cellular market.