Russian authorities try once more to abolish on-net roaming charges

8 Dec 2016

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia is determined to repeal on-net domestic regional mobile roaming charges next year, reports Tdaily. Deputy head of the FAS Anatoly Golomolzin stated that the FAS has reached an agreement with the Ministry of Communications (MinSvyaz) and the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection & Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor) on revoking intra-network roaming charges when moving from one Russian region to another, as the practice is at odds with the general regulatory framework, whilst predicting that the process to abolish the charges will take ‘about six months’ including adjusting the corresponding article 52 of the telecoms law ‘On Communication’. The FAS official added that Russian cellco MegaFon is actively involved in the FAS meetings on roaming and has openly agreed that ‘intra-network roaming’ should be retired as a concept. Rival operator VimpelCom (Beeline) is also participating in the FAS meetings on the issue, and simply said: ‘We are studying their [FAS’] proposals.’ The other cellco in the Russian ‘big three’, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) did not provide a public comment on the matter, whilst fourth-placed operator Tele2 said that it supports the push for abolition of national roaming, but noted that the impact on company costs must be studied when changing roaming/charging rules. Tdaily adds that the FAS previously requested that the Ministry cancel on-net roaming charges in September this year, whilst a motion to this effect has previously been put before parliament (State Duma) but the draft amendments were not read by MPs.