Russia’s state-backed telecoms holding group Svyazinvest has called on the government to end the regulation of tariffs for its long-distance subsidiary Rostelecom. Svyazinvest says the former monopoly operator now faces substantial competition in the domestic and international long-distance markets and should be excluded from the list of operators which have tariffs set by the state, Reuters reports. Rostelecom lost its monopoly on long-distance calls in 2006 and since then more than 30 firms have been licensed to compete against it. Though Rostelecom still controls the bulk of the market, Svyazinvest says that further tariff regulation ‘places the operator in unequal conditions compared with other market players’.
Meanwhile, Svyazinvest has reported its financial results for the first half of 2008. Net profit under Russian Accounting Standards rose by 6.5% to RUB17.53 billion (USD721.9 million), while revenues were up 3.9% at RUB123.70 billion and pre-tax profits climbed 3.1% to RUB23.39 billion. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were up 9.8% year-on-year at RUB44.59 billion. Besides Rostelecom, Svyazinvest holds stakes in Russia’s seven mega-regional local telephony firms.