According to Kommersant, Tele2 Russia has reconfigured base stations in Tula, Kaluga and Smolensk, to escape punishment from the Federal Supervision Agency of IT, Communications and Media (Roskomnadzor). As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in late-June Roskomnadzor accused two different Tele2 Russia subsidiaries – Votek Mobile and Smolensk Mobile Connection – of providing unsanctioned wireless services in the Moscow region. The telecoms watchdog ascertained that Tele2 base stations in the Tula, Kaluga and Smolensk regions all provided illegal coverage of the Moscow region. TeleGeography notes that repeated attempts by Tele2 to secure frequencies in the Moscow region have proven unsuccessful in recent years, leaving a gaping hole in the cellco’s operational footprint.
Despite reconfiguring the offending base stations, Tele2 spokesman Alexander Bahorin has continued to protest the firm’s innocence, and indicated that Tele2 intends to fight its case in court. Roskomnadzor has already submitted its own paperwork to the judiciary; if the court finds in the regulator’s favour, the fine levelled at Tele2 is likely to be fairly minor – in the region of RUB40,000 (USD1,424) to RUB100,000. However, Kommersant reports that the court’s decree will remain in force for twelve months, with the prospect of a much tougher penalty linked to a second violation during that period. A 90 day suspension has been mooted if Tele2 breaches Roskomnadzor’s coverage stipulations in the future.