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Russians Welcome End of 'Mobile Slavery'
February 10, 2013 19:12

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Russians will get the right to keep their phone number after switching to a new mobile operator starting from December 2013.

According to a new governmental decree that’s in the pipeline, the mobile number portability (MNP) service will be available for no more than 100 roubles.

New rules of the game

A person who wants to change to a better tariff with a different company will not need to notify their current operator. All they need is to buy a new SIM-card with a temporary number and then the new operator will contact their former one and settle all the formalities. If there is any money left on your account, you will be able to transfer them to the new one.

However, there will be a number of restrictions. The switch will be allowed once in six months and only within your region.


The law on the introduction of the MNP was adopted by the Russian parliament last year.

Experts say the economic burden of the move will have to be shouldered by the operators. The introduction of the new system will cost them some 12 billion roubles, or $400 million.

Russians switch their operators more often than in Europe, with an average time of loyalty at 12-16 months, compared to 17 months in Europe, analysts say.

The minimum timeframe set at 6 months will help operators to keep their business profitable.

Mixed response

Denis Kuskov, from TelecomDaily, says the new rules will bring down the price in the long-run, due to increased competition. The share of people ready to switch is between 20-25 percent, he says.

Russia's second largest mobile phone retailer Svyaznoy expects more subscribers signing up for alternative operators, like Tele2 or Rostelecom.

They estimate the share of dissatisfied users at 12 percent.

The big three of the Russian operators – MTS, Beeline and Megafon – downplayed those figures, predicting only a 3 percent outflow.

More info on the big three is in Russia-IC's profile.

Author: Mikhail Vesely

Tags: mobile network operators MTS Svyaznoy   

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