Russian regulator says mobile operator MTS breached anti-monopoly laws

A view shows the MTS company logo outside a MTS shop in St.Petersburg
A view shows the MTS company logo outside a MTS shop in St.Petersburg March 18, 2013. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk/File Photo
  • This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

MOSCOW, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Russia's competition watchdog on Wednesday said leading telecoms company MTS (MTSS.MM) violated anti-monopoly legislation in raising the price of some mobile tariff plans well above inflation.

Prices for most goods and services rose sharply soon after Russia sent thousands of troops into Ukraine in February, sparking hefty Western sanctions.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) said MTS would have to lower prices to economically justified levels and pay a fine, the size of which would be determined after an investigation.

MTS said it had not yet received a formal ruling from the FAS.

"The adjustment of tariffs took into account the growth in costs of servicing telecoms infrastructure, which exceeds the growth of telecoms service revenues," MTS said in a statement.

"The company will study the FAS' arguments after receiving the official text of the decision."

The FAS said MTS had raised the price of mobile services for more than 28 million subscribers by an average of 9.5%, basing this on a rise in its costs.

"In August, September and October 2022, MTS again raised the cost for these tariff plans," the FAS said. "The general increase in tariffs was more than 20% at a time when the consumer price index stood at 10.5% at the end of August."

The FAS said MTS had not provided enough evidence of its costs. MTS said it had submitted the necessary proof.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow and Gleb Stolyarov Editing by David Goodman and Nick Macfie

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