Russian operators, headed by MTS, are ready to launch Wi-Fi calls, but the legislation of the Russian Federation is not ready for this

    Russian telecom operators plan to offer a new service - voice or video calls over Wi-Fi. The operator MTS was the first to test the service in the Moscow region . “The test work demonstrated high security of the connection, as well as the exceptional quality of voice transmission in the HD Voice standard,” said MTS. VimpelCom and MegaFon support the innovation - this will allow operators to simultaneously save and improve communication quality.

    Wi-Fi Calling allows the operator to significantly expand voice coverage, saving on the construction of base stations, said RBC Sergey Vorobyov, Ericsson , a leading expert in the development of solutions in the field of mobile broadband accessin Northern Europe and Central Asia.

    VimpelCom is considering the possibility of using it on its network to improve the quality of communications by points, operator representative Anna Aybasheva told RBC. MegaFon is ready to begin its implementation “immediately after the removal of legislative restrictions regarding the interaction of mobile communication networks and IP for the purpose of passing voice traffic,” said spokeswoman for the operator Tatyana Zvereva.

    There are very few smartphones on the market that support the Wi-Fi Calling feature. Among them are Apple's iPhone 5C, 5S, 6 and 6 Plus, some top models from Samsung and LG, as well as the Sony Xperia Z3. In the case of the iOS platform, the telecom operator must pass certification from Apple in order to be eligible to activate the Wi-Fi Calling function, since Apple traditionally monitors the quality of perception of its brand, Vorobyov notes.

    In the second half of 2014, the number of Wi-Fi calling smartphones registered in MTS in Moscow doubled compared to the first half of 2014, Solodovnikov added. By the end of 2017, the penetration of Wi-Fi calling devices in the MTS network will reach 15%, the company predicts. MTS has not yet decided whether tariffs on Wi-Fi calling technology will be charged, said Solodovnikov.

    The head of the Association of Regional Operators, Yuri Dombrovsky, believes that the Ministry of Communications should meet the operators and issue by-laws to the Law on Communications, which will allow them to provide voice transmission services over the network. Otherwise, operators may complain to the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), since the work of online services such as Skype is allowed in Russia, and they themselves cannot provide similar services, therefore, their rights are violated, the expert noted.

    Currently, licenses of mobile operators do not allow launching such a service for commercial use.
    Operators understand that with the development of LTE and the launch of VoLTErevenue from voice communications, which in 2005 reached 90% of the total revenue of operators, will be equal to zero by 2018, said Denis Kuskov , general director of the Telecom Daily information and analytical agency . According to him, now the service will not be in demand due to the small penetration of smartphones with its support. And their cost starts from 30 thousand rubles.

    The new technology will allow operators to return roaming subscribers who now save on travel and do not use voice services, Vorobyov said. Now these users prefer services such as Skype , Viber , WhatsApp , he noted.

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