Belarus and Russia to end roaming charges by 2 April?

The Information Policy Commission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union State of Belarus and Russia believes that all the measures for canceling roaming charges between Belarus and Russia may be completed by 2 April – the Day of Unity of Peoples of Belarus and Russia. The relevant statement was made at the commission’s session in Moscow on 22 March, BelTA  reports. ROAMING BELARUS RUSSIA

The Information Policy Commission Chairman, Chairman of the Human Rights, National Relations and Mass Media Commission of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Gennady Davydko said: “Citizens of Belarus and Russia look forward to cheaper cellular communications. This matter has been a political one instead of an economic and technical one for a long time.”

It was noted during the session that the test operation of communications channels for handling roaming traffic of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, which was supposed to end on 31 December 2020, had been extended by the High-Level Group under the Council of Ministers of the Union State of Belarus and Russia by another year. Due to growing information challenges of today and the need to bring nations of the Union State closer to each other the cancellation of roaming charges is a good tool for deepening integration processes. Union State MPs contacted the High-Level Group, which next session is scheduled for 30 March, with a request to make the decision on the final cancellation of roaming charges as from 2 April.

Belarusian Deputy Communications and Informatization Minister Natalya Gordeyenko explained that the test operation had been extended because the sides had been unable to finish all the anti-fraud measures amid the pandemic. In her words, roaming prices for cellular services in Belarus and Russia are already as close to home tariffs as possible.

In turn, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department of the Russian Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media Ministry Maksim Kiselev added that roaming charges will be considered canceled when the price for an incoming call will be zero. However, he noted that the current tariffs will undergo virtually no changes.

As part of the efforts to drop roaming charges tariffs on incoming and outgoing calls, texts, and Internet access in the Union State of Belarus and Russia were reduced by several times on 1 November 2020. According to Russian mobile carriers, the reduced tariffs will stay in effect in 2021 as part of the test mode. During the test mode period Belarusian and Russian mobile carriers work on polishing inter-carrier interaction, test communications channels and billing systems in order to verify the correct handling of roaming traffic. ROAMING BELARUS RUSSIA

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