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Russia launches antimonopoly case against MTS over price hikes

Russia’s competition regulator opened an antimonopoly case against leading mobile operator MTS on Wednesday for pushing prices up, rises MTS said were justified due to higher costs associated with maintaining the quality of its services.

Russia’s telecoms industry has had to manage the fallout from Western sanctions over Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, losing access to some foreign equipment and with foreign vendors, including Nokia and Ericsson, pulling out of the market.

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has previously locked horns with network operators over price increases, with the FAS issuing fines in some cases.

“In April and March 2024, MTS increased the cost of mobile communications services for more than 30 million subscribers by an average of 8%,” the FAS said.

“Based on the results of its analysis, the FAS determined that this increase was not justified by the growth in the operator’s costs and was not economically justified.”

MTS disagreed.

“The growth … is caused by an increase in costs for spectrum payments, equipment maintenance and infrastructure development, and the need to invest in widening and modernising the network to maintain the quality of service the population is accustomed to,” the operator said.

Senior telecoms executives and other industry sources told Reuters in 2022 that the departure of foreign vendors and reduced equipment supplies could cripple Russia’s mobile networks over the long term. Reuters

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