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“On Amendments to Article 54 of the Federal Law ‘On Telecommunications’”

28.05.2010
3 min read
Pepeliaev Group informs that on 28 May 2010 the Russian President rejected amendments to article 54 of Federal Law No. 126-FZ “On Telecommunications” dated 7 July 2003 (hereinafter – the “Law on Telecommunications”).

Federal Law “On Amendments to Article 54 of the Federal Law ‘On Telecommunications’” stipulated amendments to article 54 of the Law on Telecommunications, which regulates payments for telecom services, adding a new clause, whereby “telecommunications operators that receive payment for telecommunications services, as well as telecommunications operators or other parties involved by them may perform settlements with users of telecommunications services and collect a fee for these services through payment agents that receive payments from individuals or through bank payment agents operating under the legislation on banks and banking”.

These amendments had been drafted in connection with the entry into force on 1 January 2010 of Federal Law No. 103-FZ dated 3 June 2009 “On Activities Relating to the Receipt of Payments from Individuals by Payment Agents” and Federal Law No. 121-FZ dated 3 June 2009 “On Amendments to Specific Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation with Regard to the Adoption of the Federal Law ‘On Activities Relating to the Receipt of Payments from Individuals by Payment Agents’” (hereinafter – “Federal Laws”).

In the opinion of the legislators, as these Federal Laws failed to take into account the industry specifics of legal relations in the sphere of telecom services and the effective legislative base regulating the operations of most telecom companies, application of these laws would inevitably oblige the latter to incur significant additional expenditure on overhauling the existing infrastructure used to collect payments for telecom services and on bringing the agreements into line with the Federal Laws.

To avoid unfavourable consequences for telecom operators, retain the existing procedure for the collection of service fee and establish the legal grounds for involving payment agents, it was proposed that corresponding amendments should be introduced to article 54 of the Law on Telecommunications.

The Federal Law was submitted to the Russian President for signing after the State Duma overrode the veto of the Federation Council.

At the start of March 2010 the Federation Council rejected the amendments, stating that the provisions on the involvement of “other parties” and on “settlements with the consumers of telecommunications services” could be interpreted in different ways, which could lead to financial abuses – tax evasion, illegal encashment of funds, violation of the rights and legal interests of the payers and suppliers of telecom services.

To resolve the issue, the Committee for Information Policy, Information Technologies and Telecommunications issued a resolution to establish a Conciliation Commission. However, this measure failed to resolve outstanding differences. The Conciliation Commission was abolished by resolution of the Russian State Duma dated 19 May 2010, and the draft law was adopted in the version previously approved by the State Duma and was submitted to the Russian President for signing.

On 28 May 2010 the Russian President rejected these amendments to the Law on Telecommunications.

For further information, please contact:

Natalya Ivashchenko, Head of group "Telecommunications", at: (495) 967-0007 or by n.ivashchenko@pgplaw.ru

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