FAS has demanded from the Ministry of communications not to restrict competition on the market

FAS warns

The warning of the Federal Antimonopoly service published on the official website of the Department. It is associated with the introduction of the principle of technology neutrality for Telecom operators in the frequency band 2300-2400 MHz, which would allow them to develop on a LTE network. FAS has found signs of infringement of the Antimonopoly law in the draft decision of the State Commission for radio frequencies (SCRF), which was developed by the Ministry of communications, the document says. The Antimonopoly Department suspects that the Ministry may in this document to restrict competition.

The question of introducing the principle of technology neutrality in the band 2300-2400 MHz has been discussed for two years, and it is to be paid periodically in the agenda of the meetings of the SCR. The principle of technological neutrality implies that the operators-owners of the frequencies can deploy them on the network of future generations — in this case LTE. The FAS supports the introduction of this principle, said the head of Department for regulation of communications and information technologies Agency Elena zaeva.

Lobbying this idea to the company “Inlain” — the Moscow operator of a fixed wireless access (e.g. Wi-Fi), which uses the frequency band of 2300-2400 MHz, wrote Kommersant. The company wanted to develop in the Moscow region the LTE network, but for the replacement of obsolete equipment it was necessary the corresponding decision GKRCH. The Commission, which turned the company he decided that he should adopt a generalized solution for the market, not to disassemble a particular case, said a source close to the company “Inlain” and familiar with the work of the SCR. However, the decision on technology neutrality is still pending.

The SCR meeting is scheduled for 29 February, the agenda included a question about the use of this band. A draft decision and has developed the Ministry of communications (it has a copy). Now he suggests that to develop LTE network in the frequency band 2300-2400 MHz “without further action of the SCR” can only use its mobile operators. But in Moscow and Moscow region operators, fixed wireless access is not able to develop LTE on this band, as stated in the draft decision. FAS requires a change to this document: operators fixed wireless should also be able to use its frequencies for LTE.

Before, with the introduction of technological neutrality principle on other frequency bands (e.g., 900 and 1800 MHz), it applies to all operators, without exception, explained zaeva. But now this principle is planned to be introduced only for mobile operators, and FAS sees no justification for such restrictions, she says.

To fulfill the requirements of the FAS, according to the document, the Ministry of communications has until February 20. The representative of the Ministry has not responded to the inquiry on whether or whether it will be done. The FAS has not yet received a response from the Ministry on this issue, said zaeva. According to her, if the Ministry of communications does not fulfill the requirement, the FAS will be forced to press charges against the Ministry of the case on violation of antitrust legislation. The decision to initiate the case, the FAS will be taken after February 20.

History in correspondence

The first time a draft decision on recognizing SCRF technology neutrality in this band for all operators appeared in 2014 — after the Scientific-research Institute of radio (NIIR) submitted a report with positive feedback about this initiative. All agencies that are represented in the SCR (including Roscosmos, defense Ministry, interior Ministry, Roskomnadzor, and FSO), also endorsed the initiative, said a source close to the company “Inlain”, and confirmed the interlocutor familiar with the activities of SCR. In October at the meeting of the SCR solution, however, was not accepted, the Commission only took note of the report of the research Institute.

By the beginning of 2015 the principle of technological neutrality at these frequencies has not been entered. Public organization “Support of Russia”, which turned the company “Inlain”, wrote Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich ( reviewed letter). He may have instructed the Minister of communications Nikolay Nikiforov “ensure consideration” of this issue at the next meeting of the SCR. Later the Ministry of communications received from the apparatus Dvorkovich explanation: at the meeting of 30 June 2015 must be submitted the question of the use of LTE in this band all operators — both fixed and mobile communications (copies of documents).

However, after the June meeting Dvorkovich instructed, and the representatives of the “Inlain” informed the Vice Prime Minister (a copy of the letter). The fact that Roscosmos changed its position and imposed restrictions on the use of plot bands 2341-2381 MHz, for which the decision of the SCRF is deposited again: it was necessary to determine how LTE networks and Roscosmos will continue to coexist and whether they are compatible. This “Support” also wrote in the FAS.

Now the question about the use of the band 2300-2400 MHz presented at the meeting of SCR 29 February. If the Ministry of communications will change the draft decision of the SCR and it will eventually be accepted, in Moscow can appear new LTE operators: the ability to develop networks will be companies that are currently doing wireless fixed-line telephony.

“Inlain” 80% is owned by private individuals and 20% of the company “REF+” from base “SPARK-Interfax”. The company’s revenue in 2014 amounted to 9.2 million rubles, profit — 160 thousand rbl. “Anlin” connects subscribers to the Internet in four districts of Moscow, said on the company’s website.

Conflict range

In 2011, the frequency band 2300-2400 MHz is almost completely throughout Russia was allocated to the company “Basis Telecom” for the development of LTE. With the proposal to allocate the company these frequencies then Minister of defense Anatoly Serdyukov has addressed to holding a post of the President Dmitry Medvedev (“Osnova Telecom” — subsidiary of “Voentelekoma” serving the Ministry of defense).

“Osnova Telecom” on the condition GCCR could use a frequency only under the condition that the defense Ministry will appoint her sole provider of 4G services for the armed forces. But after the change of leadership, the Ministry lost interest in the project, wrote “Vedomosti”.

In 2014, the Moscow Arbitration court has cancelled the decision of the SCRF on allocation of frequencies “to the Basis a Telecom”. In these LTE frequency claimed by the other company — “East”, “Proinvest” and “Resource” and filed a lawsuit. But they also did not get the frequency. In June the “Basis Telecom” has suspended work on its LTE network.