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GNCC fines MegaFon for illegally operating in South Ossetia

9 Sep 2009

Georgia’s telecoms regulator, the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC), has fined Russian mobile operator MegaFon GEL1 million (USD592,000) for allegedly operating in the breakaway region South Ossetia and other areas of Georgia’s sovereign territory without a licence permitting it to do so. According to CommsUpdate, the GNCC fined MegaFon’s North Caucasus subsidiary, Mobicom-Caucasus, around GEL4,700 in June 2008 for the illegal use of Georgian airwaves to provide mobile phone services in the same region. The move came after Georgia’s pro-Western government alleged that Moscow was effectively annexing Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two regions which fought separatist wars with Georgia in the 1990s and now run their own affairs with support from Russia. MegaFon has denied intentionally operating on Georgian territory, saying it cannot stop people accessing its services from base stations in Russia’s North Ossetian Republic. In September 2008 the GNCC fined MegaFon again, this time to the tune of GEL606,000. In October 2008 the Administrative Panel of the Tbilisi City Court rejected an appeal filed by MegaFon against the fines.

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