Break connection – Newspaper Kommersant No. 1 (7202) dated 01/10/2022

The average minimum tariff for cellular communications in Russia at the end of 2021 decreased by 15%, to the level of 2017, amounting to 278 rubles, follows from the estimates of Content Review. The indicators in the low segment were influenced by the cancellation of unlimited, analysts say. At the same time, operators began to increase the cost of communication for subscribers of the upper price segment. So companies are encouraging customers to switch to a subscription model with a large number of included content services, experts say.

Kommersant got acquainted with the Content Review study devoted to the tariffs for mobile communications in Russia in the second half of 2021. It follows from it that the average cost of the minimum package of services decreased by 15%, to 278 rubles, which is comparable to the indicator of 2017. The regions with the cheapest communication are the Yamalo-Nenets District, Magadan Region, Khanty-Mansi District, Sakhalin Region and Moscow. At the end of the year, mobile communications were the most expensive in Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria, Ingushetia, Karachay-Cherkessia and Dagestan.

The decrease in the average cost of the minimum package of services was due to the abandonment of unlimited tariffs and the launch of cheap New Year offers on a federal scale by operators Tele2 and MTS, explains Sergey Polovnikov, head of Content Review. “This allowed us to increase the availability of communications in regions where tariffs were traditionally high,” he says.

At the same time, operators began to raise tariffs in the high price segment. So, on January 5, MTS notified some of its subscribers about the increase in the cost of tariffs from January 17 by 60 rubles. while saving the current set of services. This message was received, among other things, by the Kommersant correspondent, whose subscription fee is 835 rubles. per month for 30 GB of mobile Internet and 750 minutes of voice communication. At the end of December, VimpelCom subscribers also complained that the operator had raised the cost of some tariffs in the Yaroslavl Region and Krasnodar Territory, found Kommersant on social networks.

MTS explains the changes by the increase in the cost of maintenance and construction of networks, an increase in prices for electricity and services of external contractors, and “the operator’s obligations to comply with regulatory requirements are also affected.” MTS added that the changes will affect only 25% of tariffs. “If the conditions seem suboptimal, the subscriber can switch to another tariff or subscription,” they said.

MegaFon told Kommersant that unlimited Internet traffic for instant messengers operates on all tariffs of the operator’s main line. “In addition, unlimited is valid in tariffs for modems, routers and tablets, for subscribers whose needs are higher, it is possible to connect an unlimited option,” the company noted.

The vast majority of Vimpelcom subscribers with unlimited traffic options on smartphones and tablets use no more than 50 GB per month, and 70% of them “fit” into 20 GB or less, the company told Kommersant. “Taking this into account, we have expanded the number of options with unlimited traffic to popular services – messengers, social networks and video services,” they noted. For those who need additional access to the network, there are options for modems and routers, added in the operator.

With high quality, prices for communication services in Russia remain one of the most affordable in the world, “one of the factors reducing the average minimum price of a tariff is tough competition,” Tele2 noted. This is confirmed by the ARPU indicator (average income from one subscriber per month), which in Russia has remained almost unchanged for ten years, Tele2 added.

The increase in the cost of tariffs in the high price segment is due to the fact that operators are trying to transfer subscribers to a subscription model of consumption, which includes their online cinemas and other content services, “as a result, using a tariff without any included subscription will simply be unprofitable,” says Sergey Polovnikov.

Operators are expanding the range of tariff offers, says Alexey Boyko, an analyst at MForum Analytics. “They are lowering the bar for those who are willing to give up unlimited and other conveniences, such as calls to numbers outside their home region, and are gradually raising the bar for paying customers who will continue to use tariffs with a comfortable set of options,” he says. This, the expert believes, reflects the global trend, which is manifested in the reduction of the so-called middle class of clients.

Yulia Tishina

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