Rostelecom attracts FAS flak over high termination rates

10 Jun 2011

According to the Prime-Tass news agency, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has ruled that national telecoms operator Rostelecom is guilty of limiting interconnection for the country’s so-called ‘Big Three’ cellcos Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), MegaFon and Vimpelcom, as well as for informatics company SZKTI. The charges are specifically related to North-West Telecom (NWT), one of the seven mega-regional subsidiaries that were absorbed by Rostelecom’s central operations as part of its so-called ‘mega-regional merger’, which closed on 1 April 2011.

It is alleged that NWT violated competition law by ceasing to route traffic through its network, and declining to sign network interconnection agreements with the other firms. The FAS investigation was launched following a series of complaints from Megafon, MTS, Vimpelcom and SZKTI. Further, NWT is accused of demanding inflated call termination rates from local operators. The FAS has recommended that Rostelecom eliminates all of the alleged violations, but Rostelecom has reportedly denied the accusations.