Russia watchdog mulls probing mobile roaming fees

MOSCOW, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Russia's Federal Anti-monopoly Service (FAS) said on Thursday it is considering launching a probe into mobile call roaming fees charged by the 'Big Three' operators MTS MBT.N, Vimpelcom VIP.N and MegaFon.

FAS said it believed that the tariffs charged by the three operators for roaming calls were “unreasonably overpriced.”

“The level of tariffs set by the Big Three operators on roaming calls are exceeding that set by the European Commission by 3-6 times,” the regulator said on its Web site.

MTS, Vimpelcom, part-owned by Norway's Telenor TEL.OL, and MegaFon, co-owned by TeliaSonera TLSN.ST, have a combined 85 percent of the Russian mobile market.

The European Union last year extended the 2007 price caps by three years to 2012 on roaming voice calls. The caps made the price of texting up to 60 percent cheaper for travellers in the EU. [nLU243503]

(Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva; writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Rupert Winchester)

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