State Duma abolished national roaming in third reading
Today, the State Duma in the third reading adopted amendments to the law "On Communications". These amendments abolish national roaming. Starting from June 1 of the next year, operators should provide subscribers with services at the same tariffs - regardless of what region of Russia they are located in. This is reported by Vedomosti.
Leonid Levin, chairman of the Duma committee on information policy, information technologies and communications, said that the bill would allow roaming to be canceled throughout Russia. Wherever a subscriber goes with a SIM card of an operator purchased in his region, services for him will be provided at the same rates as in the region of purchase. Incoming calls should remain free.
According to Levin, some operators attribute the high roaming charges to the fact that in some regions they do not have their own networks, so they have to raise prices. However, the exit official sees that the operators solve problems with connecting to the networks of competitors with the involvement of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media. The ministry will help to build an inter-operator exchange system in such a way that the difference in the cost of travel services is not too noticeable for the end user. It may well be that for this purpose, additional by-laws will be required.
The author of the bill, Sergey Mironov, believes that the abolition of roaming will enable citizens to annually save about 35 billion rubles on cellular communications. In the explanatory note to the bill, national roaming is called archaism. The authors of the documents claim that by the middle of 2017, the service accounted for only 1.5% of operator revenues. This is about 10-14 billion rubles for 2018.
Last year, the representatives of the “Big Four” earned 30 billion rubles on intranet roaming.
Regarding roaming cancellation, earlier the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) ordered operators to drastically reduce prices for national roaming (this means special tariffs when a subscriber moves from one region to another and from one operator’s network to another) increased tariffs when a subscriber moves between the networks of his operator in different regions). In the current situation, a ban on internal roaming is unlikely to have a significant impact on the revenue of operators and tariffs for subscribers.
FAS has demanded to reduce tariffs for national roaming, canceling on-net roaming in the middle of last year. Operators from December 2017 began to establish new tariffs. However, in the spring of 2018, the Big Three operators equated the cost of services in the region of their stay to the home ones. But at the same time a fee was introduced (5-5.5 rubles per minute) for incoming long-distance calls. FAS decided that they had violated the law on the protection of competition, since they set different tariffs for the same service without any grounds.
In the end, the operators were fined 737,500 rubles each. The companies voluntarily eliminated the violations while the cases were being reviewed, therefore the FAS did not issue mandatory prescriptions for canceling roaming.
The cellular operators of the Russian Federation have begun to cancel roaming in August - then the companies stated that they are ready to fulfill the FAS requirement. The first payment for the incoming removed "VimpelCom", then - "Megaphone". At the end of August, roaming was canceled by MTS.
In October of this year, against the abolition of roaming maderegional mobile operators serving approximately 3.5 million subscribers. The companies stated that they would suffer losses, because in regions where there are no their own networks, you need to connect to the networks of "colleagues", which is not at all free. Therefore, it is possible that some operators will leave the market, while others will sharply raise tariffs. Regional operators even sent a letter to the government of the Russian Federation describing the negative consequences of canceling the tariffing of incoming calls in national roaming. However, in October, FAS representative Elena Zaeva said that she did not believe that the abolition of incoming payments "would have a negative impact on the activities of telecom operators." Thus, the fact that canceling incoming payments cannot be a reason for the growth of tariffs.