According to Russian news site RBC Daily, the Federal Supervision Agency of IT, Communications and Media (Roskomnadzor) has accused two different subsidiaries of mobile operator Tele2 Russia of providing unsanctioned wireless services in the Moscow region. The telecoms watchdog has reportedly ascertained that Tele2 base stations in the Tula, Kaluga and Smolensk regions all provide illegal coverage of the Moscow region. As a result, Tele2 subsidiaries Votek Mobile and Smolensk Mobile Connection have both received warning letters from the regulator, reiterating that they do not hold licences to provide wireless services in Moscow. Tele2 representative Alexander Bahorin responded with the following statement: ‘We hope the coverage is strictly along the boundaries of licensed areas. It is necessary to conduct research, to see if the signal is Tele2 in the Moscow region. [Our] subscribers [in Moscow] use roaming [services] through the network of MegaFon. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with Roskomnadzor’. Although Tele2’s ‘Call Cheaper’ rates are actively promoted in Moscow supermarkets, the cellco says that the tariffs are directed at holidaymakers and visitors from other regions. Repeated attempts by Tele2 to secure frequencies in the Moscow region have proven unsuccessful in recent years.
Questioned by RBC Daily as to how Tele2 should prevent its transmissions from penetrating Moscow, a Roskomnadzor spokesperson commented: ‘In order to eliminate violations by Votek Mobile and Smolensk Mobile Connection, [the operators] should adjust their base stations within the borders of the Moscow region, in line with the frequency-spatial plan, which they have been issued by Roskomnadzor’. However, an independent expert in the field of telecoms law contacted by RBC Daily refuted Roskomnadzor’s claims, saying: ‘The operator is not obliged to carry out the abstract requirements of the regulator. Photons that carry the radio frequency signal do not obey Roskomnadzor. No one can influence the laws of physics. Tele2 is obliged to perform only the formal requirements prescribed in its frequency licences. If the power of the base stations in these areas corresponds to [the requirements], the operator does not need to take any action. It is a problem relating to poor measuring equipment used by Roskomnadzor’.