Russians are waiting for new fees: Operators have introduced a fee for SIM-cards

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In Russia, a fee for connecting to cellular networks has been introduced. Large operators take 50 rubles. for a SIM card, and there is no guarantee that the price will not increase in the future. The companies attribute this to an increase in the cost of purchasing SIM-cards due to the forced change of suppliers.

Operators’ costs will be covered by subscribers

Russian telecom operators have begun charging Russians for a SIM card when registering a new subscriber, Kommersant reported. In other words, residents of Russia now have to pay extra to operators to connect to their network.

According to the publication, among the first free SIM-cards was canceled by Megafon, followed by Yota. These operators connect to the network costs 50 rubles. for each SIM card.

From June 21, 2022, Beeline will also have a connection fee. The price will be the same – 50 rubles. for one SIM card. Other Big Four operators will join a little later – MTS will introduce the fee on June 24, 2022, and Tele2 on August 1, 2022.

The need for Russians to pay for connection to the networks of federal Russian telecom operators is due, as always, to the financial side of the issue. Representatives of MegaFon told the publication that all operators have increased the cost of providing communication services. The 50 rubles that the subscriber will pay when purchasing a new number will allow “partially to compensate for the costs of the operator for connecting a new subscriber, including the costs of the SIM cards themselves, the cost of which has increased significantly in 2022,” MegaFon employees said.


The possibility of further growth of cents for connection to Russian cellular networks cannot be ruled out

In “Beeline” give similar arguments. Representatives of the operator called paid SIM-cards a forced measure aimed at “partial compensation for the cost of connecting to a mobile network.” “At the same time, the connection fee is included in the cost of the starting balance,” they told the publication.

Costs have really gone up.

According to the reports of federal telecom operators, their expenses for connection of new subscribers have really increased. According to them, in June 2022 they jumped by 250% year-on-year.

Forecasts in this regard are disappointing. A Kommersant source in the staff of one of the operators noted that by September 2022, the cost of one SIM card will increase by 420% compared to the beginning of autumn 2021.

The problem lies in the impossibility of issuing large batches of SIM cards in Russia. Operators are not interested in small wholesale because of the lower financial benefits. “It is profitable to produce them (SIM cards – CNews note) only in very large batches, this is a low-margin product that pays off only due to large volumes, and the Russian market is already saturated and does not show noticeable growth,” said a source in the telecom industry . Why the production of large batches cannot yet be established at Russian factories, he did not explain.

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The problem with SIM cards is also connected with the current geopolitical situation. Until February 24, 2022, Russian operators purchased large batches of cards from European vendors Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient and others, since the final cost, taking into account the volume of purchases, was low.

Now operators have had to switch to Asian providers who sell SIM cards at a higher price. However, the interlocutors of the publication are sure that the fee for connecting to the networks of operators is not connected with this. In their opinion, “this is either an attempt by operators to create a new source of income, or the fruits of the use of “parallel imports”, when chips or SIM cards from conventional manufacturers are imported in new ways, which inevitably increases the costs of operators.”

Prices are higher, quality is lower

The Big Four operators are introducing paid connection to their networks against the background of an expected deterioration in the quality of communication. Supplies of network equipment through official channels have been terminated – cellular networks in Russia are built mainly at Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei base stations. All three companies have stopped shipments to Russian customers, although Huawei is in no hurry to announce this.

As CNews reported, the lack of new equipment could lead to major disruptions in the operation of cellular networks. The first problems may appear in the summer of 2022.

CNews Analytics: Atlas of the Russian Internet of Things Market

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At the same time, the Russian authorities in the spring of 2022 allowed mobile operators to index their tariffs taking into account the current economic situation.

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