Licensing and authorisation
What licences/authorisations are required to provide telecoms services?
Operators provide telecoms services in Russia under Government Decree 87, dated February 18 2005, on the basis of telecoms licences for the relevant type of service, including, but not limited to:
- data transmission services (either voice or other data);
- the provision of connection channels, intercity and international telephone calls;
- telematics services;
- telecoms services for terrestrial broadcasting; and
- telecoms services for cable broadcasting.
Telecoms licences are issued under Federal Law 126-FZ (the Communications Law) in accordance with the licensing requirements under Government Decree 87.
Licences are issued on a per territory basis and operators that provide a variety of services must hold relevant licences for all services and regions in which they provide services, which can sometimes number hundreds of licences.
What are the eligibility, documentary and procedural requirements to obtain a licence/authorisation?
Telecoms service licences are issued by the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Connection, Information Technologies and Mass Communications. The applicant files an application together with supporting documentation, including its corporate documents, a description of the telecoms service to be provided and the network layout. Where the services to be provided require the use of spectrum, the applicant must submit a frequency-use permit issued by the State Commission for Radio Frequency Allocation. In cases where the specific frequency resource is limited or there is a limited capacity of publicly available networks in the territory in which the operator applies, licences can be issued via tender (held as auctions or competitive contests).
Validity period and renewal
What is the validity period for licences/authorisations and what are the terms of renewal?
Telecoms licence terms are determined by the authority and must be between three years and 25 years.
What fees apply?
There is a one-time licence fee of Rb7,500 (approximately $130) for all types of licence. Separate fees are charged for frequency-use and number pool assignments.
What is the usual timeframe for obtaining a licence/authorisation?
The average waiting period for a licence to be issued is 75 days from the filing of a complete package or, in the case of an auction, 30 days after the winner has been decided.
Network access and interconnection
What rules, requirements and procedures govern network-to-network access and interconnection?
The principal rules of telecoms network interconnections are set out in Articles 18 to 20 of the Federal Law 126-FZ (the Communications Law). Further, two decrees adopted by the government provide the specific technical requirements for:
- general network interconnections; and
- the interconnection of broadcasting networks, respectively.
Apart from these mandatory rules, all terms of interconnection and network-to-network access are defined and agreed on by the contracting operators. Operators of publicly available telecoms networks must provide interconnection services to other operators.
Operators considered to have a substantial position in publicly available networks (where a ‘substantial position’ is defined as holding more than 25% of the capacity in the relevant geographic numbering area, individually or as part of a group of affiliates) must offer equal and non-discriminating terms for all connecting operators on the basis of standard published contracts. Operators that hold a substantial position cannot refuse interconnection, except where such connection would contradict their licence terms or applicable regulation.
Are access/interconnection prices subject to regulation?
Network connection costs are government regulated for operators that hold a substantial position in publicly available networks. For such operators, the Federal Agency for Communications sets the minimum and maximum costs of interconnection services per connection point.
How are access/interconnection disputes resolved?
Disputes on interconnection-related issues are resolved through standard judicial procedures in arbitrazh (ie, commercial) courts.
Have any regulations or initiatives been introduced or proposed with respect to next-generation access?
The Digital Economy national programme adopted by Government Order 1632-p of July 28 2017 sets the provision of stable 5G mobile services in all major cities of Russia by 2024 as one of its major goals.
In the context of the recent move towards technological neutrality, the State Commission for Radio Frequencies has made some decisions in the past four years which allow the use of certain bandwidths previously reserved for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System standards to promote the development of long-term evolution services without the need for operators to modify previously issued permits.
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