It would be counter-productive to postpone a law requiring operators to store all data generated by users for six months, although the regulation may need to be enforced gradually, Russia’s communications minister said.

The law covers user data including calls and messages and will come into force on 1 July, 2018 as part of a wider regulation to curb terrorism.

Lawmakers suggested delaying enforcement of the law until 2023 as it is expected to inflate costs – MTS, Megafon, Vimpelcom and Tele2 estimated they would have to spend a total of $37 billion.

“To simply postpone, delay the coming into force of these norms of the anti-terrorist package to 2023 we think is counter productive,” Nikolai Nikiforov said, as reported by Vedomosti.

He admitted the law could not possibly be enforced overnight and suggested coming up with a plan to implement it in stages over a period of two to five years.

“We are looking for a compromise… I think next week we’ll see some kind of an agreed position,” he added.

Last week, secure messaging app maker Telegram agreed to register its details with the Russian government after the country’s regulator threatened to block the app. However, it made it clear the company would not share private user data.