The Federal Antimonopoly Service is preparing amendments to international agreements on roaming so that mobile operators can reduce roaming tariffs to “domestic” for several years. The main goal is to agree on a synchronous schedule for reducing inter-operator tariffs, firstly – with the CIS countries. fas roaming
According to the estimates of the service, now the markup of operators when serving other people’s subscribers reaches 85%.
“Road map” fas roaming
Deputy Head of the FAS Anatoly Golomolzin explained that it was a question of adjusting the services section of the Agreement on Eurasian Economic Cooperation, as well as amendments to the draft Agreement on the conditions for implementing inter-operator settlements in the provision of international communications services in the CIS. The service website specifies that it has already agreed with the Communications Ministry: the ministry will take into account the FAS calculations in bilateral agreements on roaming with authorities of other countries, first of all participants of the International Working Group on International Roaming. This group was created in 2012 on the initiative of the FAS and the Competitive Office of Turkey, it also includes the CIS countries, Austria, Czech Republic, Serbia, Macedonia, China and Egypt.
The presentation prepared by the FAS states that international roaming services are beneficial for operators around the world: in the tariff that is exposed to the subscriber, the “home” company (whose SIM card it purchased) gets an average of 26%, another 53% is received by a foreign operator, the traffic passing through its network (inter-operator tariff), and maintenance costs and “other costs under the roaming agreement” are only 17 and 4% respectively. In the inter-operator tariff, real expenses are only 15%, the FAS insists. For comparison: the profitability of Russian operators of the Big Three – MTS, VimpelCom and MegaFon – for OIBDA (sales revenue) is less than 45%, according to company reports.
Roam like home
FAS Head Igor Artemyev also said in January that the Customs Union authorities are discussing the abolition of international roaming. Roaming can be canceled in the union in 2018, Minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission Nurlan Aldabergenov confirmed in September. Golomolzin explained that we are talking about the concept of roam like home, when a subscriber abroad pays for communication services at the rates of his “home” network.
A similar scheme for regulating tariffs in roaming a year ago was proposed by the EU countries. In the summer of 2013, the European Commission introduced the project Connected continent, according to which telecom operators are offered to cancel tariffs for roaming by July 2016. The project should be approved by the authorities of all EU countries. As part of this plan, developers expect that, starting in 2014, operators within the EU will introduce separate tariffs for roam like home “and will enjoy a softer European regulation,” said European Commission Vice President Nili Kroes. These tariffs should work in 17 countries of the European Union, in which more than 70% of the population lives.
The concept of roam like at home does not take into account the difference in tariffs of operators in different countries and the structure of payment of taxes, warns the general director of Strand Consult, John Strand. He expects that as a result there will appear those who wish to make money on the reselling of SIM cards of operators in those countries where communication is cheaper. Strand believes that it is necessary to use the principle of roam like a local, that is, users in roaming must pay not at the rates of their “home” network, but at the rates set by local operators for their subscribers.
In MTS, MegaFon and VimpelCom they say that they constantly reduce tariffs for roaming. FAS data confirm this: for the last three years the average cost of calls in international roaming has decreased nine-fold, SMS-three times, and data-44 times. Operators in Russia have a limit to reduce prices in roaming, because they depend on inter-operator tariffs, says MTS representative Dmitry Solodovnikov. “All such initiatives are highly dependent on our roaming partners,” agrees VimpelCom representative Anna Aibasheva. Source