Internet Access Costs to Decline in Russia

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Apr. 26 – The cost for yearly Internet access in Russia has fallen between 30 percent and 60 percent, according to a survey from the country’s leading Internet firm Yandex.

The Ural Federal District saw the lowest prices at around US$5.7 per 1 Mbit/s, while the most expensive access area for a network has been registered in the Russian Far East at around US$32.2 per 1 Mbit/s. Continue reading…

Russia 77th in Global ICT Report

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Apr. 13 – Russia has moved up three positions this year to 77th overall with improvements across the board, according to The Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011, Transformations 2.0, released yesterday by the World Economic Forum.

The report remains the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative international assessment of the impact of ICT on the development process and the competitiveness of nations. Continue reading…

Turkmenistan to Shut Down Russian Mobile Service Provider

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Dec. 27 – Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Russia’s largest mobile operator, faces US$585 million of lost profit from MTS Turkmenistan operations in the next five years after the government ordered it to end subscriber contracts and dismantle 90 percent of its network, CEO Mikhail Shamolin said last week.

On December 15, MTS received special notice from the Ministry of Communications of Turkmenistan. The notice informed the company of a decision to suspend licenses held by Barash Communications Technologies, Inc., MTS’ wholly-owned subsidiary in Turkmenistan, for a period of one month starting from December 21, 2010. Continue reading…

Legal Precedent Complicates Foreign Investment in Strategic Sectors

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Jul. 1 – A court decision based on the law on foreign investments for strategic Russian companies may essentially complicate investor access to the market.

The Commercial Court of Moscow City announced its decision on the Megafon cellular operator case on Tuesday; invalidating all positions of the agreement on establishing joint venture in which Russian Alpha Group and Stockholm-based TeliaSonera assumed to bring their Megafon shares, Kommersant Daily reports. Continue reading…

Russian Judicial Loophole May Hamper Foreign Transactions

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Apr. 2 – Any deal to buy a strategic enterprise by a Russian company that has foreign daughter companies may be declared null and void. Blame the broad interpretation by the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service and the courts for their elastic notion of what constitutes a group of persons. Even major Gazprom deals could be contested.

In April 2008, a law on foreign investment in strategic sectors of Russia’s economy entered into force. It applies to foreign investors and groups of persons who seek to buy shares in Russian companies operating in 42 strategic sectors including the oil industry, telecommunications, defense, space industry, and so on.

If you follow the law scrupulously, even domestic companies that have foreign subsidiaries, such as offshore, could be considered a group of persons. It turns out that any deals over they have made over the last two years should have been done with consent of permission from the government commission or else be declared null and void. Continue reading…

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