Is roaming to be canceled in Russia?
Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) gave mobile operators two weeks to get rid of the unjustified difference in roaming prices for subscribers of 'expensive' and 'cheap' tariffs, the official website of the department says.
FAS issued a warning to VimpelCom, MTS, MegaFon and T2 Mobile in connection with violations of the law on the protection of competition.
"The more expensive the tariff plan is, the less the difference in tariffs for mobile communication services at home and abroad," the official website of the antimonopoly authority says.
FAS experts conducted price analysis, after which they found the price for roaming tariffs unreasonable.
Member of the Expert Council for the Development of Competition under the Government of the Russian Federation, senior researcher at the Institute of Applied Economic Research of RANEPA, Vadim Novikov, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the abolition of roaming is far from guaranteed. "I assume that companies will challenge it in court, because it roaming itself does not violate any laws. It is not forbidden to take a charge for roaming, so its illegality is a certain decision of the FAS, and companies will argue this decision," he explained.
Vadim Novikov recalled that not all decisions of the FAS are implemented following trials. "One can say with certainty that courts cancel the decisions of the FAS quite often. In this case, the chances are 50-50," a member of the Expert Council for the Development of Competition under the Government of the Russian Federation noted.
At the same time, even if a court decides to cancel roaming, it will not seriously affect the companies, since the population will have to pay anyway. "Tariffs will be increased. If some part of a tariff becomes cheaper, providers will restore the overall profitability of this tariff for themselves at the expense of other elements. That is, this situation will be favorable for those who use roaming and unfavorable for others," Vadim Novikov warned.