Russia probes operator-operator charges

Russian regulators have launched an official probe into the country's three big carriers: Mobile TeleSystems, VimpelCom and MegaFon, which control about 86 percent of the mobile market, because the government believes the operators charge each other lower rates a minute in interconnection charges than they charge smaller operators. Reports indicate the big three charge each other about 0.95 rubles (3.5 cents), while they charge the smaller rivals 1.1 rubles for the same service. Each carrier is taking a different path: VimpelCom says it didn't break any laws and will defend themselves in court; MegaFon wants to settle out-of-court; MTS said the basic interconnect rates are basically the same for all, only the discount goes to carriers with a large amount of traffic. Regulation could lead to higher rates for customers.

For more on the Russian probe:
- read this WSJ article (sub. req.)