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Anti-monopoly service begins investigation into MTS’ refusal to pass numbers to MegaFon

January 10, 2014, 13:08 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, January 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s federal anti-monopoly service /FAS/ has begun an investigation into refusal of the MTS communication operator to pass numbers of the Federation Council’s members to the MegaFon Company, FAS’ representative Anna Orlova told Itar-Tass on Friday.

“In late December we received an application from MegaFon and began an inspection,” she said. “Results are not ready yet, but we are involved in the issue.”

The representative did not explain what responsibility MTS may be liable for.

MegaFon was supposed to begin offering cell services to the Federation Council from January 1, 2014. The client wanted to keep the phone numbers under the mobile number portability (MNP) option. MegaFon applied several times for almost 450 telephone numbers of the Federation Council’s members, but MTS refused to satisfy them.

“Unfortunately, we still have not received the numbers. We consider this situation representative. In our opinion, that was an act of MTS’ unfair competition. Unfortunately, behaviour of the kind may affect the very option of retaining numbers under the MNP option,” Yulia Dorokhina of MegaFon told Itar-Tass. MTS refused to give any comments.

The law on MNP came into force on December 1, 2013. In order to change an operator, a client has to visit office of the company which will provide services to file an application. The service’s cost is set by the receiving operator /recipient/, but cannot be above 100 roubles (about three dollars). During a transition period through to April 7, 2014 a recipient may set a date for the services to a new client /no later than April 14, 2014/. After April 7, the transfer of services to another operator should take eight days for individuals and 29 days for corporate clients. The term may be extended to 180 days at a client’s request.

A recipient files information on a new client to the base of transferred telephone numbers, checks if a future client has overdue payments to the donor operator. As all settlements are finalized, the number is being transferred. The aggregated information on transferred telephone numbers is stored in a general data base of the local communication centre, where operators and payment systems may get information as per in which network a client is registered. Operators are bound to use the base to redirect correctly calls and text messages.

MegaFon, previously known as North-West GSM, is Russia’s second largest mobile phone operator and the fourth largest telecom operator. It works in the GSM and UMTS standards. Its main competitors are VimpelCom (Beeline) and Mobile TeleSystems (MTS).

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