Azerbaijani Communication Ministry proposes options to reduce roaming tariffs to mobile operators

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov.23 / Trend H. Veliyev /

Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies has offered to mobile operators of the country several options of the phased reduction of roaming tariffs, Rashad Nabiyev, the head of Ministry's Department of finance, accounting and economic analysis, said.

According to Nabiyev, operators were offered to start with tariff reductions for the CIS countries. Operators, in turn, found it reasonable to start with regulating of inter-operator connections.

"According to their statements, the CIS countries have operators with whom it is very easy to agree on those or other services, and there are operators with whom it is very difficult to agree. The key to success in Europe is the fact that regulation is not only the final tariff for the users, but also inter-operator connections. We believe that although the CIS countries have not such interaction and, consequently, regulatory mechanisms, but the CIS can serve as the platform itself, based on which one could do a lot for the effective regulation of roaming tariffs," Nabiyev said.

At present, he said, Russia and Kazakhstan's communication administrations could find a common language to some extent, and they began their mutual activity on possible agreements between operators.

"The Azerbaijani Communications Administration proposes to continue works started under the Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications (RCC) and, in our view, it would be appropriately attract the Interstate Council for Antimonopoly Policy and in the short period of time develop concrete proposals for the mutual regulation of roaming tariffs," Nabiyev said.

At the meeting of the Council of Heads of Governments of the CIS, which was held Nov. 19, antimonopoly authorities of the CIS member-states were recommended to complete the procedure for joint investigations of violations of antimonopoly laws in the market of telecommunication services and international roaming and to develop concrete proposals.

Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies within the 43rd meeting of the Council of Heads of Communication Administrations of the RCC offered to instruct editorial commission to work out a decision on this issue and submit it to the heads of communication administrations of the RCC.

Azerbaijani Communication Ministry compared the tariffs for international roaming, on which services are rendered to the Azerbaijani mobile operators, with tariffs for similar services, which are used in Europe.

As it turned out, an Azerbaijani citizen, being in Russia or any other neighboring country, is forced to pay an average five-six times more than the citizen of Spain for example, calling from Greece, where this indicator hits about $2.5 on average.

In Europe, roaming tariffs are subject to state regulation, and the EU since 2009, has imposed certain restrictions on roaming tariffs. Thus, the cost of mobile calls made abroad, but in the EU territory, amounts to 43 cents, the cost of received calls - about 19 cents.

The idea of regulating roaming tariffs in Europe occurred in 2002 and during the entire time operators, countries' parliaments, European Commission's regulators developed procedures, on which price controls will be carried out.

According to many specialists, the introduction of regulated tariffs in the EU led to the fact that European operators raised rates on roaming tariffs for operators of non-Europe countries, including the CIS countries.

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