Work on a road map to discontinue roaming charges between Russia and Belarus has been suspended, reports Comnews.ru. The parties had originally been planning to sign an agreement on the issue at the end of September.
No agreement regarding interconnection rates was reached during the last meeting of the telecommunications ministers and representatives of major mobile operators of both states, which took place on 03 October.
The interconnect rate is USD 0.30 per minute in Belarus, the highest in any CIS member state. This is because Belarusian mobile operators do not have their own lines to Russian mobile operators but use those belonging to Belarusian state-owned operators Beltelecom and National Traffic Exchange Centre.
Interconnection rates at Russian operators vary from USD 0.14 to USD 0.19 per minute. The Russian side estimates that abolishing roaming charges without harmonising rates would reduce the annual incomes of Russian mobile operators by between RUB 1.5 billion and RUB 2 billion.
The parties agreed on a USD 0.015 per minute interconnect rate. Nevertheless, the Belarusian side considers that this rate should apply if subscribers of Russian mobile operators who use roaming services in Belarus receive incoming calls from any Russian mobile network, and that USD 0.30 should apply for all other types of call. The Russian part side considers that the reduced rate apply to all incoming calls for Russian subscribers using roaming services in Belarus.
The parties also disagree on wholesale roaming rates applied by operators.
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