The Russian government wants locals operators to ensure 85 per cent of their equipment is produced in the country by 2020 as the telecoms industry’s dependence on foreign manufacturers poses a security risk.
According to a report by the RBC news agency, a special group of the government also wants local producers of telecom equipment to be charged less VAT and income tax, as well as less social insurance tax. The latter is levied on both employers and employees to fund social security programmes.
Customs duties for imported components of equipment will be reduced and a plan has been proposed to change licensing requirements for operators, which will include limitations on the use of foreign equipment.
The move has received criticism from some who believe it could lead to higher prices for telecom services and a decline in quality.
However, the proposal fits within a wider trend in Russia, where the government last year met Sailfish as it looked to lessen the dominance in the country of Google’s Android.
Back in July, VimpelCom, MegaFon and MTS argued that a new law that gives the government wide-ranging surveillance powers could leave the mobile industry facing a bill for $34 billion, on top of damaging civil liberties.