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Telecom operators that are not connected to the Antifraud call verification system may be deprived of the opportunity to provide roaming services. This initiative is being discussed by the Ministry of Digital Development together with the Federation Council, explaining that the bulk of fraudulent calls come to Russia from abroad. But small operators and FAS see in the idea, first of all, the creation of privileges for the largest market players.

“Kommersant” got acquainted with the letter of the Ministry of Digital Transformation to Senator Artem Sheikin dated June 20. It follows from it that the ministry is discussing with the security forces and the Federation Council the scaling of the anti-fraud anti-fraud system to small telecom operators that are not connected to the system and use mobile DEF numbers (not tied to the country of issue).

Senators and the ministry propose to oblige small operators, including regional and virtual ones, to conclude agreements with the Big Four (MTS, MegaFon, Tele2, VimpelCom) so that all incoming traffic from Russian numbers from abroad is verified in system “Antifraud”. It is proposed to do this free of charge until the full deployment of the system in Russia in 2024.

The issue of stopping the passage of foreign traffic from operators that will not connect to the system is also being worked out. “This measure is aimed primarily at stopping violations of the rights and legitimate interests of citizens, counteracting crimes and ensuring the security of the state,” Artem Sheikin explained to Kommersant. Also, the senator believes, it will help speed up the process of connecting telecom operators to the system.

In Mintsifra “Kommersant” explained that initially two methods of connecting to the system were fixed – directly or through verification nodes of other telecom operators. The ministry supports the option of connecting to the system through nodes: “Negotiations are not held with foreign operators. We are talking about the skipping by Russian telecom operators of calls from direct international joints, when such calls are accompanied by Russian numbering. In this case, changing the number will not be possible if the telecom operator to which the numbering belongs is connected to the verification system.

The Antifraud unified phone call verification platform of the Main Radio Frequency Center (GRC) subordinated to Roskomnadzor was launched in Russia in the winter to combat telephone scammers (see Kommersant on January 18).

When a telephone call is received, the equipment of the receiving operator requests information from another operator – the owner of the calling subscriber’s number, whether such a call left its network or not, MegaFon explains: “If not, then the number has been spoofed and the call is automatically blocked, but only if the operator is connected to Antifraud. The operator itself is already verifying roaming calls from both its own subscribers and subscribers of other players connected to the system: “Last month, we blocked more than 21 million calls to numbers of other Russian mobile operators.”

Tele2 added that the expansion of Antifraud resources requires serious equipment costs, but the company is “already interacting with a number of operators in order to connect them to the system.” MTS and Vimpelcom declined to comment.

Now, according to the Ministry of Digital Development, about 10 thousand operators provide communication services in the Russian Federation. These are small companies operating in the regions, as well as virtual operators. Now all mobile operators provide roaming services. “They have agreements with all countries, either directly or through aggregators,” explains Aleksey Slukin, editor of the specialized Telecommunalka Telegram channel.

At the moment, more than 70% of fraudulent calls come from abroad. To fight them, Belarus joined the Russian Federation (see Kommersant of April 19). Small operators can “take advantage of the infrastructure of large ones and save on deploying their own connection, ensuring the security of subscribers,” says Irina Levova, director of strategic projects at the Internet Research Institute.

However, not everyone in the industry supports the idea. “Now it’s premature to talk about connecting small operators to the Big Four verification nodes, especially on a gratuitous basis, since operators are only working out the technical conditions for connecting to the system,” a Kommersant interlocutor in one of the operators notes.

The FAS also sees the risks of expanding the requirement to connect to Antifraud. From the letter of the Ministry of Digital Affairs, which cites the position of the service, it follows: they believe that the termination of traffic transmission can lead to the creation of competitive advantages for operators connected to Antifraud over unconnected, but providing roaming communications.

Tatyana Isakova

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