Communication future: will the operators to make it free

The President of MTS OJSC Andrey Dubovskov

Photo: Yury Mashkov/TASS

The President of MTS said that telecommunications services in Russia should become free. RBC figured out what kind of services involved and what is going to make operators in the near future

“Should be free”

The President of MTS Andrey Dubovskov has predicted that in the near future, cellular services and Internet connection should be free for consumers. Users do not need to pay for the satisfaction of their communicative needs”, and the company [MTS], it was a shame to take it to 1-1,5% of salary,” said Dubovskov. “All that we give must be free”, — said the President of MTS. He found it difficult to answer the question on what ultimately will earn the operators of the “big four” — MTS, “Megaphone”, “VympelCom” and Tele2.

“In a very distant future, as I see it, there will be one infrastructure operator, which belongs to the “pipe” in which there are megabits [communications infrastructure], and the operators will sell services to those who this infrastructure will benefit,” explains partner of Ernst&Young Mikhail Romanov. The largest Telecom operators for many years invested in wires and rigs — now these facilities are available to all, often used by companies together and are no longer subject to competition, is a global trend, says the head of the Agency Content Review Sergey Polovnikov.

For example, the backbone network of oil pipelines owned by the same company — “Transneft”, but to produce oil and build a small parts of the infrastructure are many; the Federal railway network belongs to one of Railways, but between competing private operators of a rolling stock. This is not to say that for a subscriber, the link itself will be absolutely free: for example, the train passenger does not pay the fare of a certain number of miles on the rails, but in the ticket price of the pledged payments to the carrier in favor of the Railways. Operators providing services, will receive the money from subscribers, while they themselves will pay for the lease of infrastructure, said Romanov.

Right Dubovskov as confirmed by statistics: revenue from voice services is decreasing since 2012 (see chart). In 2015 operators at all exhausted the possibilities of organic growth in the subscriber base with a penetration rate of SIM cards has increased to almost 190% of the active population of Russia, for the first time in the history of the market volume has not increased, but diminished slightly by 0.1% “year to year”, follows from materials “VimpelCom”.

According to analysts of “MegaFon”, Russian market of mobile voice communication was reduced in 2015 by 6.7% (to about 550 billion rubles) — and it is 2.5 times faster than in 2014. Telecom market, in fact, entered the stage of stagnation: by the end of 2016 is expected to shrink by 0.3%, predict in “VimpelCom”.

Reduced price per minute, megabyte (for the first ten years — 108 times), SMS-messages, said the Vice-President of MTS marketing Vasil Latsanich.

The relationship ceases to cost money — is a clear trend, I agree the Deputy Director General for Commerce MTT Denis Wide. For example, in Tajikistan 1 megabit costs $60, and in Russia — “practically nothing is not worth it,” he says. According to him, most likely, in the medium term operators will cease to charge for the conversation, and MTT supports this trend; each operator will be looking for their monetization model.

What to make

In 2015, the accelerated penetration of OTT services (over the top technology, allowing you to transfer content over networks of providers; such services include, for example, WhatsApp messenger and Viber), and also “and related to this the cannibalization of voice revenues and revenues from SMS/MMS”, says the study “VimpelCom”. The mass distribution of such services is having “an increasingly large negative effect on the revenues of traditional operators”, the report says. Telecom operators are now looking into the OTT market and the additional services, because they see that Uber, “Yandex” and other similar companies doing high-margin business, explains Romanov.

Drivers of growth will be big data (“big data”, pattern information) about the subscriber, said Wide. If you now buy movies from the Apple Store, you pay the online store money, and he in turn pays nothing to the operator, but the model will change: the operator will receive the money with the content owner, or the operators will enter the share of content providers, sure Wide.

Telecom operators started to launch new projects — content, advertising, financial. MegaFon, for example, at the end of may 2016 has launched its own app for making calls and sending messages via the Internet eMotion. The service works over Wi-Fi or mobile Internet, allows you to call other users as eMotion, and any phone numbers: this is the main difference of the service from existing instant messengers which allow you to talk only with app downloaded by users (for example, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger), explained Director of IP services of the company “Megalabs” (“daughter” of “MegaFon”, which developed the app) Vyacheslav Isaykin. Calls through eMotion pay: 0,8 rubles per minute of conversation with the subscriber of “MegaFon”, 1,5 rbl. — the rest room around the world. If the recipient has a package rate, for calls charged separately, in addition, the operator takes the money for traffic if the subscriber uses the mobile Internet, not Wi-Fi.

Similar service was introduced in December 2015 and MTS — MTS Connect. Calls and messages it also paid their price corresponds to the rates of subscribers, but Internet traffic is not charged. At the launch of the service for communication of MTS has invested more than 100 million rubles. in addition, in early 2016, the operator, together with the Internet company “Yandex” has launched a service “MTS Music”, which allows you to listen to music online over 20 million songs), download tracks to your phone. The app itself is free, access to music have to pay either 150 RUB. per month, or 6 rubles a day from the account of mobile phone Internet traffic free). In February, MTS launched the app MTS.Books”: the monthly fee for the use of the catalogue in 70 thousand books, the cost to the users in 190 RUB, daily — 7 RUB Now book a service used by about 20 thousand active MTS subscribers (data “Litres”, in partnership with which the service is running).

VimpelCom in August 2015, the year started, for example, a new payment service “Beeline-transfer” (acquiring provides Alfa-Bank). It allows customers to make instant transfers with Bank card and mobile phone account, send the money as possible for the other operator, and maps. Minimum transfer amount — 10 RUB., the maximum is 14.4 thousand RUB Net investment in the project and the expected return of the head of the Department for development of financial products “Beeline” Illarion yalovenko was not disclosed. While the presentation of the service he said the company expects “billions of rubles” in the form of remittances in the first year of operation.

Besides, “VympelCom” became the first of the operators, who in October 2015 introduced free unlimited access to WhatsApp on their most popular tariff plans line “All”. As explained then the head of the company Mikhail Slobodin in your Facebook, operators “always looked at all the messengers as enemies, theduma they have a significant portion of income” and “VimpelCom”, “decided to look at it differently.

On all smartphones users now have apps, and companies are starting to understand that it is not enough to have a website, you need to be on the first or on the second screen of the mobile device — on the third “not very well”, says Director of strategic planning Tele2 Svetlana Skvortsova. Any company will try to make a mobile app: notifications that come from an application, irritate the user less than the SMS, she said. With the app, you can offer to the service user depending on its location, said Skvortsova. This trend will lead to the fact that “we will all communicate with their customers through the screen,” she added.

The near future

However, the interlocutor of RBC in the international analytical company is sure that the Russian operators “will not soon be able to change dramatically” — it is necessary to “break the mind”.

In recent years, the cost of telecommunication services declined significantly, but the services themselves have become as necessary as, for example, light or gas, said the representative of “MegaFon” Julia Dorokhin. To save costs, subscriber companies offer package tariffs, lower prices for data roaming abroad. “However, to make mobile services completely free now impossible”, — said Dorokhin. “MegaFon’s strategy of “effective growth” and sees the main potential of business development in mobile data communication and its monetization by providing additional or new services to subscribers, she said.

For “VympelCom” the product of the near future — corporate banking services tied to the knowledge of the operators about subscribers. “With the successful development of the basic services can be free” — promises a representative of the operator Anna Aybasheva.

“Make communication services are absolutely free to the users even in the medium term is not possible”, — said the representative of “T2 RTK holding (Tele2 brand) Konstantin Prokshin. Tele2 continues to invest in network: in 2015 the volume of investments in IT infrastructure and technological development amounted to 39 billion rubles, which is 214% higher than a year earlier. “We see great potential for further development of the industry to create mutually beneficial partnerships with companies from other industries — banking, transport, IT and other spheres”, — said Proxin.

Despite the fact that the data revenues will not grow and the voice will fall, operators will still earn on them, he added “TMT Consulting Konstantin Ankilov. The next stage in the growth of business of operators possible in five years, when they will develop 5G technology, said the expert.

Director General of the Agency TelecomDaily Denis Kuskov suggests that free provide voice services to subscribers of the operators will be able beginning around 2020. Operators in partnership with other companies will be running additional services and make money on them, I’m sure the Pieces: for example, it will be more advanced geolocation services and the delivery of goods and services, security or financial services.

“What makes Google, giving their basic service for free? On advertising, additional services. This is an example but not a model. And this example is very interesting to us,” says Latsanych. On the question of whether to wait for changes until 2020, he replied: “it is hoped”.


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