Ukrtelecom, Ukraine’s biggest telecommunication company, and the Vega telecommunication group are persuading the National Communications Regulatory Commission to look into the possibility of raising the rates of local fixed-line telephony, Commission Member Volodymyr Khilenko has told a news briefing.
“Ukrtelecom and Vega have approached us… and now the Commission has to explore this issue in details. Only then we’ll say if it is really necessary to raise [the rates] or we have to look for other ways,” Khilenko said.
Communications Commission Chairman Volodymyr Ollinyk says that the operators have presented substantiation of operating at a loss at the existing rates of local telephony services.
Although, he has added, having looked through the documentation they found discrepancies in the methods of calculation of net cost, in particular they included extra expenses in it.
Ollinyk says scrutiny of the data will take several months.
Alongside with this, the Commission Chairman noted that his agency would also study the local telephony market at the year-end of 2010 in order to propose operators possible ways of reducing their expenses on these services.
One of such ways Ollinyk calls more active introduction of new technologies which can bring additional profits and even enlarge the subscriber base, for instance offer multi-service support, when by one line they transmit voice, text data and image (3 play).
He notes, it is undesirable to raise the local fixed-line telephony rates because this can even worsen the outflow of clients, especially in rural areas.
According to him, Ukrtelecom now has about 1.5 million rural subscribers and their number is constantly decreasing.
Ollinyk says that from fixed-line telephony subscribers migrate first of all to mobile one, the level of its penetration in Ukraine is one of the highest in Europe.
Alongside with this the Commission Chairman stressed that it was not possible to give up on fixed-line communications in Ukraine, because it was on the list of generally accessible services and had to be inexpensive.
Ukrtelecom, Ukraine’s largest telecommunications company, occupies 78% of the fixed-line telephony market in Ukraine, providing services to upward of 10.1 million subscribers.
For the last time the National Communications Regulatory Commission revised the rates of local fixed-line telephony in April 2009, when the maximum fees for telephony services for subscribers in towns and district centres rose by UAH 2.15 — UAH 3.07 or 10% — 20% to UAH 16.44 — UAH 33.81 a month.