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Pay all: why the abolition of roaming charges in Russia will lead to growth of tariffs

On 17 July, the FAS issued the largest Russian cellular operators the alert for what the same services to the “home” region and in the rest of Russia stand for their clients in different ways. In fact it means the abolition of roaming charges, although the word “roaming” FAS is not mentioned even once. Operators declined to comment on the instructions of the regulator.

FAS gives MTS, MegaFon, Beeline and Tele2 for two weeks to change the rates. “Prices for communications services in travel [to Russia] should not differ from the prices in the home region, this difference is economically and technically not justified”, – stated in the message of FAS.

If this does not happen, the Agency will begin an investigation against operators, and end with it can working fine for failure to perform the requirements of the service. Prepare to investigate the FAS forced “the sluggish negotiating process and the lack of concrete solutions for the reduction of tariffs of Russia,” according to the service.

Many subscribers are certainly welcome such an initiative. But too early to rejoice. To pay for the abolition of roaming will not be FAS, not operators. And we are with you.

Why pay all subscribers?

Take inter-operator tariffs. Call MTS mobile to a mobile number, say, “Beeline” from another region is not just for networking: every time operators pay each other money for landing calls. And tariffs for roaming in each case, take into account including this payment. If cancel roaming, operators have to adjust prices to cover the costs of inter-operator payments. And correction this will affect not only rates of those who travels around the country and all subscribers without exception, write “Vedomosti”. That is, for a trip to Russia for individual citizens will pay all.

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To the growth of all tariffs will lead the banal and the need to recapture all the costs of building and maintaining huge carrier network. Because most of the subscribers in roaming in your home calling region, and then the call is routed from the local switch long distance network, which is a complex infrastructure. Operators were building it for many years, it took already a lot of money – in particular this is due to the huge distances within the country. In roaming tariffs laid down and capital costs of the past, and the inevitable transaction costs of network maintenance in the present, say the operators. And if you are roaming you will not, you will have to pass it on to the consumer.

And finally, the most interesting. Now in different regions the relationship is different: somewhere more, somewhere less. If the roaming will be canceled, which prevents craftsmen from the provinces to bring to Moscow a SIM card from, say, Ryazan Ryazan with rates much lower than in the capital? Operators, of course, will not allow this. The simplest in this situation for them to be bringing all tariffs in all regions to a common denominator. Thus, where it was cheaper, will become more expensive. And where there were more likely the price will remain the same.

So, roaming inside the country to cancel – is simple enough. The question is, do we want to pay for it. And how to make the reform did not affect the subscribers?

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