The RSPP Commission on Communications and IT believes that “in the current economic conditions” the reserves of equipment of telecom operators will be enough for six months, and failures in their work may begin in the summer. To support the company, the commission proposes to reduce the fee for the radio frequency spectrum by 50% in addition to the already approved measures, zero the property tax rate and exempt from income the income of employees in the industry. The Ministry of Education does not see any reasons for network failures, emphasizing that their work depends not only on state support.
Kommersant got acquainted with the proposals of the RSPP Communications and IT Commission (which includes representatives of MTS, MegaFon, VimpelCom, ER-Telecom, GS Group, Russian Railways and others) on measures to ensure the development of the communications industry and information and communication technologies in the conditions of external sanctions pressure “. The document was prepared following a meeting of the commission on March 21, it is planned to send to the government, according to a statement on the commission’s website.
It follows from the document that the cost of telecom equipment has already increased by 40% due to the departure of Western vendors and the depreciation of the ruble and may increase by another 80%.
Under the current economic conditions, the reserves of the equipment of telecom operators will be enough for four or six months to ensure the operability of the infrastructure. Thus, the risk of accidents and disruptions in the stability of the network will increase from July to August, operators predict.
This may also apply to the technological networks of railway transport and energy: “The only way to keep the infrastructure operational is to cancel all development plans and use previously purchased equipment solely to maintain the stability of the network.”
Capital expenditures of the largest telecom operators will increase from 390 billion rubles. in 2021 to 450 billion rubles. in 2022, even with the reduction of investment programs, the commission predicts.
In addition, if current trends continue for six months, the industry may lose up to 30% of highly qualified professionals, and the general deterioration in the financial situation of telecommunications and broadcasting operators may force management to optimize staff by 15-20% by the end of 2022.
In addition to the proposals of the Ministry of Industry Support in the form of preferential lending and reduction of income tax already approved by the government (see Kommersant, March 19), the RSPP commission proposes to impose a moratorium on contributions to the Universal Communications Fund for 2022, %, reset the property tax rate, reduce the insurance premium rate and exempt from taxation the income of employees of the communications industry.
Kommersant’s Ministry of Statistics stated that they did not see any preconditions for failures in communication networks:
“The state receives whole packages of support measures from the state. It is important to understand that the efficiency of business depends not only on the preferences of the state, but also on the decisions of the enterprises themselves.
In a situation where operators have difficulties with the supply of foreign equipment, the measures proposed by the RSPP will make a significant contribution to ensuring the smooth operation of communication networks, according to MegaFon. Sustainable digital infrastructure is needed to continue digitalization, so state support measures are important for the entire industry, Rostelecom said.
The forecast of the RSPP commission is more like a negative scenario, but problems in communication networks are possible and most likely inevitable, admits MForum Analytics analyst Alexei Boyko: “The scale of the problems will depend on equipment stocks.” Network failures can be caused by a deterioration in the quality of services, such as reduced average data rates or temporary denial of communication, up to a situation where the user’s device stops catching the network, does not allow him to make a call, the expert explains. To keep the networks operational, he adds, operators can partially dismantle already deployed equipment and use it to repair or expand networks where relevant.