Corporate SIM cards are stuck on wires // It was proposed to postpone their registration

The Ministry of Economy proposed to extend the deferral of mandatory registration of users of corporate SIM cards in the Unified System of Identification and Authorization (ESIA) of public services until March 1 and to amend the corresponding draft of the Ministry of Digital Science. Under the current version, telecom operators will have to disconnect unregistered subscribers from services on December 1. Operators are already informing customers about the new requirements, but they fear that not everyone will be able to fulfill them even if the deadline is shifted by three months. According to experts, about 5 million numbers may be under the threat of shutdown.

“Kommersant” got acquainted with the conclusion of the Ministry of Economy on the draft government decree “On the procedure for the provision of telephone services.” It was posted by the Ministry of Digital Science for public comment on in March. The project is being prepared in accordance with the amendments to the Law “On Communications” adopted in December, which regulate the circulation of “gray” SIM cards. According to them, all new clients-legal entities of operators must, from June 1, register users of corporate SIM cards in the ESIA. The draft decree introduces a delay on this requirement until November 30 for customers who started using services before June 1, and from December 1, operators will have to stop providing services to those companies that have not entered the necessary information.

Now the operator’s corporate client must provide him with a certified list of actual SIM card users – last name, first name, patronymic. Formally, telematic subscribers (M2M, machine to machine) also fall under the new standards, but this category is not separately spelled out, and to take it into account, the project will be finalized separately (see Kommersant of May 12).

The Ministry of Economy considers the established transition period insufficient and proposes to extend it until March 1, 2022. The postponement will allow market participants to prepare for the implementation of the new requirements, the ministry explained to Kommersant. According to his representative, a meeting with the project developer is expected to discuss this issue. The Ministry of Digital Affairs confirmed to Kommersant that the remarks of the Ministry of Economy “will be worked out”.

Operators expectedly supported the extension of the deferral for the new rules.

“The main difficulty is that the client must have a confirmed entry on the public services portal,” Tele2 noted. The operator noted that it is already conducting a wide campaign to inform customers: the new procedure is explained upon connection, information is posted on the website, and mailings are being sent to the contact persons of customers. “The deadlines are very tight, and the amount of work and the number of numbers in the changelog is enormous. The postponement will allow to identify users in a planned mode and without prejudice to clients and the economy and to comply with the requirements of the law, ”says VimpelCom. MTS agrees with this. MegaFon declined to comment.

A delay even for another three months will not be enough, says Irina Levova, Director for Strategic Projects at the Institute for Internet Research: “This time may not be enough for all corporate clients of operators to enter information about users in the Unified Information System.” Operators have already incurred significant costs for integrating billing systems with ESIA, and now they are spending resources on explanatory work and informing corporate clients, she notes. On the whole, the expert doubts the effectiveness of the new measures: “Operators check all the data themselves, integration with the ESIA will not help fight the gray SIM card market”.

Corporate clients account for at least 20% of all operators’ SIM cards, said Eldar Murtazin, a leading analyst at Mobile Research Group.

The total number of cellular subscribers in Russia at the end of 2020, according to AC&M, amounted to 227.62 million. “Some individuals buy corporate SIM cards with more favorable tariffs, and the legal entity will not be able to add such subscribers to the Unified Information System”, – explains expert. According to him, as a result, about 5 million SIM cards may be disabled. This, the expert warns, will lead to a temporary decrease in operators’ revenue.

Anastasia Gavrilyuk

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