Russian mobile operators could be forced to raise their tariffs by as much as 10% following the introduction of new legislation that requires them to store user data for up to six months.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) has outlined the new proposals, which are aimed at providing greater state scrutiny over data related to calls, internet usage, and text messages. The law will come into effect on 1st October, and according to Reuters operators are racing to import equipment capable of meeting the security requirements – despite the government’s insistence that operators should use locally manufactured kit.
Despite the figure mentioned by the FSB, Russian officials have denied that there should be any need for operators to raise their prices significantly. In March, then communications minister Nikolai Nikiforov said that there was no reason to believe that the law would result in “a dramatic increase in prices.”
Nikiforov’s view was corroborated by Alexander Ponkin, director of the ministry’s Department for Regulating Radio Frequencies and Communications Networks, who said that while the FSB had specifically mentioned the figure of 10%, it was too early to estimate how the legislation would affect tariffs in the future.
Similarly, several Russian operators have indicated that they have no plans to increase prices, including Rostelecom. Megafon said that strong competition in the market meant that a significant hike was inadvisable, while Tele2 similarly said it aimed to offer competitive rates. MTS and Veon made no comment.