The state Duma supported the introduction of a single tariff for cellular communication for Russians :: Technology and media :: RBC

The Duma in the first reading approved the bill to abolish roaming charges within Russia. Yet, according to the document, payment of calls within the country will be “carried by a single tariff services”, but the second reading of the draft needs to be rewritten

Photo: Alexey Filippov / RIA Novosti

At the same rate

The state Duma in the first reading adopted a bill to abolish roaming charges within Russia, said in a statement on the website of the lower house of Parliament. In the Duma the initiative was more than a year ago — June 28, 2017, its authors are deputies from “Fair Russia” headed by the leader of the Duma fraction Sergey Mironov.

The deputies proposed to amend article 54 of the Federal law “On communications” (“communications services”) to “payment of telephone connections between subscribers within Russia was carried out by a single tariff of services of the operator regardless of the location as the calling and receiving subscriber”. The order and form of payment of communication services, at the initiative of deputies shall be determined by the contract on rendering of communication services. “If the tariffs for the services of this operator are subject to state regulation, at the request of the subscriber-the citizen the operator is obliged to provide possibility of payment of granting of access to a communication network with instalments of payment not less than six months with an initial payment no more than 30% of installed cost”, the document says.

In the explanatory Memorandum to the bill States that the proposals “aimed at the abolition of national roaming, i.e. the use of differentiated tariffs on communications services, depending on the location of subscribers in a particular subject”. In fact, national roaming allows subscribers to receive services in those regions where there is no network operator, with whom he signed a contract (for example, national roaming subscribers are coming to Crimea, where they work private cellular operators). That is, it is likely to go on national roaming, which allows subscribers to stay connected in a region other than where it was purchased SIM card of the operator. Typically, operators charge for such services margin.

While roaming fees in the explanatory Memorandum called “archaic, hindering the development of accessibility of communication services on the territory of the Russian Federation”. This rule, as parliamentarians, is “only an additional source of income for the relevant operators”.

According to the source RBC, close to one of the largest mobile operators used in the bill definition of “single tariff services” can be interpreted as a desire to equalize the rates not only in different regions but also between mobile and fixed networks. To officially comment on the initiative of the deputies, the representatives of MTS, “Megaphone”, “VimpelCom” (brand “Beeline”) and “T2 RTK Holding” (Tele2) refused. In 2017, when the bill has only been introduced in the state Duma, the representative of “MegaFon” said that the introduction of a uniform cost “will inevitably lead to the alignment of tariffs is not at the lowest level”, and the loser may be subscribers who do not travel around the country.

FAS has allowed the extension of time limits for the abolition of roaming within Russia

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As told RBC Deputy head of FAS Anatoly Golomolzin, now the text of the bill and explanatory notes do have different interpretations. “The government has written an official opinion on the bill, which States that it is ready to support, but only if the second reading of the document will be amended. Moreover, the table of amendments is ready and the circulation about the “common fare” will disappear from the document”, — said Golomolzin. According to him, after revision of the bill it would be a fact that the tariffs in the home area should not significantly differ from rates in the regions visited by the subscribers.

“This is the challenge that we solved in the framework of consideration of cases on violation of antitrust legislation and which is fixed by decree of the President about the main directions of competition policy and the national development plan competition. The bill will be finalized and it will be legally settled the question of national and intra-network roaming”, — said Deputy head of FAS.

Will change the article, which will be amended. According to the opinion of the government, issued on 6 June, representatives of the government proposed that the Parliament make no changes in article 54 of the law “On communication”, and in article 46 (“obligations of operators”) by requiring operators “to set the same conditions for the provision of communication services to the subscriber when he is on the territory of Russia”. Thus, it will be eradicated as inter-network roaming and national roaming, as subscriber, to go to another region to obtain telecommunications services on the same conditions as on the territory of the region in which he bought a SIM card.

The FAS in July 2017 ordered the “big four” operators (MTS, “Megaphone”, “VympelCom” and “T2 RTK Holding”) to change the unreasonably high rates for trips within Russia, arguing that the tariff policy of the operators violated the law “On protection of competition”. Antitrust law forbids companies with a dominant market position to restrict competition by setting different prices on the same goods without justification. Service were ordered to eliminate the difference in rates until 15 December 2017. However, the relevant Department together with the operators came to the conclusion that it is impossible to do in 2017, and the operators got a reprieve. For MTS, “MegaFon” and “VimpelCom” deadline was extended to January 31, 2018, “T2 RTC Holding” — until may of 2018 (later extended to 31 August). MTS, “MegaFon” and “VimpelCom” have changed their tariffs in national roaming, however, FAS was not satisfied with the new prices. In early March this year, the Ministry opened an Antimonopoly case against MTS and MegaFon in mid-March — against VimpelCom.

In addition, representatives of FAS said that is considered unreasonably high tariffs for services of operators in roaming in the Crimea. In February the regulator announced that MTS and VimpelCom have voluntarily eliminated the violations, in March did the same “Megaphone”.

Roaming undefeated

In the last few years to the state Duma repeatedly introduced bills proposing to abolish roaming charges within Russia. Even in 2012, a group of MPs initiated amendments to the law “On communication”, which obliges mobile operators at the check-out subscribers from the home district to charge for services in accordance with the tariffs applicable in the region, came to the subscriber. However, the document criticized the Ministry of communications, and in 2016 it was rejected.

In June 2017 the Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko has asked for a month to work on the abolition of roaming with Belarus. In less than two weeks, the group of deputies from LDPR in the state Duma introduced a bill allowing subscribers from different countries to access the network on internal tariffs of operators. On the same day, the Deputy head of the Ministry of communications Dmitry Alkhazov called the idea of abolishing roaming “antisocial.” He explained that the ban on charging roaming costs for maintenance, travelling subscribers, which account for 7%, will be transferred to the entire subscriber base. The bill has not yet been considered.

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