The FAS and the furious: watchdog to bring national roaming case against ‘big four’

2 Aug 2017

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) is preparing to begin proceedings against the ‘big four’ mobile network operators (MNOs) – MegaFon, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Beeline Russia (PJSC VimpelCom) and Tele2 Russia (T2 Mobile) – after the quartet failed to comply with instructions to end national roaming charges. Deputy head of the antitrust watchdog Anatoly Golomolzin was quoted by news agency TASS as saying at a press conference this week: ‘Communication operators were to present proposals on national roaming. This was not done and FAS has therefore decided to open a national roaming case against the big four’. The official went on to say that FAS will open cases against the cellcos on 13 August if the operators do not comply with the regulator’s orders, adding that none of the companies had responded so far.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, FAS issued a notice in mid-July ordering the operators to cease charging customers additional fees for using their mobile devices in Russian regions outside their home region within 14 days. Explaining its decision, the regulator noted that its analysis showed prices for telecommunications services (calls/SMS to numbers within and outside the region of the user’s current location, as well as mobile internet/data services) should not differ from prices charged in the user’s home region when travelling to other regions of the Federation, as the cost difference is ‘not technologically justified’.