One of the main topics of the past week was the Ministry of Digital’s statement that operators need to abandon unlimited tariffs and data transmission options in order to reduce network loads in the face of limited equipment supplies. Behind the euphemisms “balance the volumes of traffic consumed”, “reasonable reduction in volumes”, there was a message that operators should abandon unlimiteds.
It seems that in the Ministry of Digital Development, in between, they decided to conduct an experiment, who is distinguished by the ability of goldfish to memorize information, and who has surpassed them and lives from scratch every day. After all, the main event of the end of 2021 was the abolition of unlimited Internet by operators in Russia, all companies removed such options for new connections. Gradually, they began to abandon unlimited Internet for existing tariffs and transfer people to regular package offers.
The topic of canceling the unlimited for the Internet was discussed very widely, it became the main one at the end of the year – how this will affect the cost of communication, what people think, and further down the list. One of the key topics concerning operators, but there is a feeling that everything has disappeared like a morning haze, and the proposal of the Ministry of Digital Development was discussed as if it had been received for the first time. A good illustration of the fact that news in our world can be produced literally non-stop, it still attracts attention and generates discussion.
It is impossible to believe that the Ministry of Digital Development has also become like a goldfish. The calculation and message in this public communication is quite simple, the Ministry of Digital Development offers something, and the operators unanimously support this initiative. A win-win lottery where all parties win. The ministry shows that it enjoys all-round support in the market, and operators get an additional trump card in communicating with customers.
I really liked the fact that the Ministry of Digital Transformation does not just talk about its initiative in letters to the press, but then publishes the reaction of the operators, check it out:
“Megaphone”Vladimir Mesropyan, Director of Government Relations, MegaFon:
“In the face of objective difficulties with the supply of telecommunications and computing equipment, which in a negative scenario could lead to a decrease in the quality of communication services and a decrease in the stability of networks, the recommendation of the Russian Ministry of Digital Development looks rational and timely.”
“Under the current conditions, this is a rational solution that will allow operators to have the necessary margin of safety even with a sharp increase in mobile Internet consumption.”
“We share the concerns of the ministry. However, in its practice, Tele2 has never abused unlimiteds. These products are not in high demand among our customers, and when distributed, unlimiteds create an excessive load on the network. We are glad that the regulator shares this approach. Tele2 tariffs are balanced in content and meet any subscriber’s consumption profile.
I was embarrassed by the fact that there is no reaction from Beeline, although the company’s CEO Alexander Torbakhov has consistently defended the position for several years that unlimited limits are killing the operators’ business and should be abandoned. Let’s write off this moment for technical issues, maybe the Ministry of Digital Development did not want to expand the letter as much as possible, or they had some other reasons.
The recommendations proposed by the operators had to be further explained to the general public, the comment of the Ministry of Digital Development is significant enough to quote it in its entirety:
The development of telecom networks in Russia proceeded at a pace that was ahead of global indicators. Every year, the Internet traffic of mobile operators in Russia is growing by more than 50%. To ensure the quality of services and maintain the volume of data transmission, it is necessary to modernize the current and build new base stations. Taking into account the shortage of equipment under the sanctions, operators may face objective difficulties in maintaining the pace of network development. In this regard, the Russian Ministry of Digital Development considered it necessary to recommend that operators evenly distribute the load on the networks:
— Limit offers of unlimited tariffs, which caused distortions in traffic consumption, uneven load on networks.
— If necessary, revise the filling of tariffs. In operator activities, this is a constant process, it always follows the opportunities of the telecom market.
The Ministry of Digital Development drew attention to the fact that in recent years, mobile operators have accumulated a critical mass of so-called “archival” tariffs, including those with unlimited access to the Internet. This creates an unreasonably high load in places where subscribers can connect to wired communication networks. Recommendations are aimed at eliminating this bias in the use of mobile communication networks. In addition, the exclusion of “archival” tariffs with an irrelevantly low price for communication services will allow operators to maintain current tariffs for all subscribers.
At the same time, the Ministry of Digital Development of Russia together with the Federal Antimonopoly Service will control price increases. Tariffs for cellular communication will not grow above the level of inflation in Russia. Recall that communication services in Russia are among the lowest in terms of cost in the world. Russia is in the TOP-3 countries in terms of the availability of mobile Internet for the population and among the leaders in the penetration of broadband Internet access based on fiber optic networks.
What is the purpose of a game that has actually been played? Operators began to add unlimited tariffs on archival tariffs, transfer people to other tariff plans. And this process cannot be called pleasant for any client, yesterday you had unlimited, and now they take it away and give you an objectively worse offer, where traffic is limited. We will say a few words about this later, but now it is important to fix the meaning: the letter of the Ministry of Digital Development is an excellent communication for society with an explanation of why operators do this. They remove some of the negativity from themselves and can say that these are the recommendations of the Ministry of Digital Development, so it is necessary to do so. A mutually beneficial deal for all parties, the Ministry of Digital Transformation receives support for its actions from operators, who shift people’s annoyance to the ministry.
Now about the filling of tariff plans, which has changed little since the beginning of this year. Package offers today give 50 or 60 GB of mobile Internet, this is enough for the eyes of most subscribers. Often, the choice of unlimited is the purchase of insurance against problems when a person does not want to think that he will run out of traffic and will need to do something. The vast majority of subscribers do not choose the same 50 GB, their monthly traffic volume is much lower.
But there are “heavy” subscribers, those who drive traffic non-stop. Usually these are people who use such data transfer for business purposes, for example, recording a picture from cameras in real time. For them, choosing mobile plans is a cheap and efficient way to do business, often with higher broadband rates but the same or lower bandwidth (depending on location and region, of course). A couple of percent of such users are able to load the networks of operators up to 40%. Where they occupy the air, other subscribers receive communication quality with worse characteristics. And now the cleansing of such proposals, including those in archival plans, is beginning.
In addition, operators are beginning to revise their tariff proposals, now the Ministry of Digital has agreed with the Federal Antimonopoly Service that the latter will not punish operators for price increases. The situation last year was frankly crazy, the prices for everything were growing, and the operators were not allowed to raise them, since the latter are socially significant. Now we have agreed that the operators will be able to change prices for the amount of inflation, which is officially considered in Russia. For this year, this means a possible increase in the cost of up to 15-16%, based on current values.
It is important to note here that many take it as an indisputable fact that communication for everyone without exception will increase by this percentage, but this is not so. Operators raise prices unevenly, some tariffs are being reviewed, some are not. The average percentage of growth in the cost of tariffs will be below the level of inflation, especially since operators are in a very specific environment and constantly act with each other in mind.
Out of our field of vision were corporate rates, they are almost always non-public, cost half as much (and even lower) and give much more than what you can buy in stores. And many of them retain unlimited internet options. The attack on such tariffs has begun, they are closed for connection, unlimited Internet has ended for them, although there were few of them, literally piece-by-piece offers. Until the summer, operators will gradually begin to close the options for unlimited Internet, and the work will go not so much on tariffs, but on consumers – they will look at specific organizations, the consumption profile and make decisions. The work is big and complicated, but clearing the market of no-limits will start here as well.
But the most important thing in corporate tariffs is that their prices will go up, that is, there will be no such difference between public tariffs for individuals and offers for companies, the gap will gradually decrease. For operators, this is a huge space for increasing revenues, for companies this is a minor expense that they do not realize.
The question of how individual players will behave remains open, there is a possibility that someone will want to play something that does not change tariffs, to attract new subscribers. But tariffs will still change, if not immediately, but after a couple of months. The market today is such that corporate rates will quickly change their value upwards. And there are all objective prerequisites for this.
Communication prices will not grow very much, it remains publicly available regardless of your income level. But unlimiteds will disappear, while during 2022 we will see an increase in the offered traffic in packages. It has already happened, if initially operators offered 50 GB as the maximum package, today you can already find 60 GB.
Summing up the situation, the Ministry of Digital Development proposed what operators use as an explanation for changing tariffs, including old ones. And partially extinguishes the negative. The times of ultra-cheap communication are over, now it will just be cheap. That does not negate the fact that it is accessible and provides communication opportunities for any person in the country.
Source: Mobile-review.com — Все о мобильной технике и технологиях by mobile-review.com.
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