Russian government calls on operators to increase local equipment usage

The government of Russia has suggested that 85% of equipment deployed by Russian operators should be locally made by 2020.

Arguing that overreliance on foreign manufacturers could represent a threat to Russian security, the government is reportedly considering charging less VAT, income tax and social insurance tax for Russian equipment manufacturers.

In addition, customs duties on imports of components for telecoms equipment are being lowered, and there have been proposals to limit the amount of foreign equipment that operators can use by changing licensing requirements.

The government push is in line with broader policy, with Russian authorities last year meeting with Sailfish as part of an effort to reduce the market dominance of Google’s Android OS. However, critics of the move claim it could push up the price of telecom services while reducing their overall quality.

The big three Russian operators – MegaFon, MTS and VimpelCom – have already spoken out against a new law which grants the government broad surveillance powers, claiming it could cost the industry as much as $34 billion as well as infringing civil liberties. 

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