Telecommunications in Russia

Telecommunications in Russia

Russia was among the first countries to introduce radio and television. Due to the enormous size of the country Russia leads in the number of TV broadcast stations and repeaters. There were few channels in the Soviet time, but in the past two decades many new state-run and private-owned radio stations and TV channels appeared. In 2005 a state-run English language Russia Today TV started broadcasting, and its Arabic version Rusiya Al-Yaum was launched in 2007.

The telecommunications system in Russia have undergone significant changes since the 1980s, resulting in more than 1,000 companies licensed to offer communication services today. The foundation for liberalization of broadcasting was laid by the decree signed by the President of the USSR in 1990. Communication is mainly regulated through the Federal Law "On Communications" and the Federal Law "On Mass Media"

InfoCom-2004 telecom exhibit in Moscow

The Soviet-time "Ministry of communications of the RSFSR" was through 1990s transformed to "Ministry for communications and informatization" and in 2004 it was renamed to "Ministry of information technologies and communications (Mininformsvyazi)", and in 2008 – "Ministry of connections and mass commnunications (Minkomsvyaz)".

The "Ministry of press and information of the RSFSR" was in 1990s renamed to "Ministry of Press, Broadcasting and Mass Communications (Minpechati)" and in 2004 it was turned into the "Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications (Rospechat)" which was no longer a standalone ministry but a subdivision to the "Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications" (originally "Ministry of culture of the RSFSR"). In 2008 it was re-subordinated back to "Minvsyazi".

FttX infrastructure has been expanded rapidly in recent years, principally by regional players including Southern Telecom Company, SibirTelecom, ER Telecom and Golden Telecom. Collectively, these players are having a significant impact of fiber broadband in regional areas, and are enabling operators to take advantage of consumer demand for faster access and bundled services.



Telephones – main lines in use: 25.019 million (1995)

Telephones – mobile cellular: 161,000,000 (2007)

The telephone systems in the 60 regional capitals have modern digital infrastructures; cellular services, both analog and digital, are available in many areas. In the rural areas, the telephone services are still outdated, inadequate, and low density.

Until the end of 1991 (the end of the USSR), the sole fixed line telephone operator in the country was the Ministry of Communications of the USSR. The state possessed all telecommunications structure and access networks. In 1994 the investment communication company (OJSC “Sviazinvest”) was established by the Presidential Decree #1989 dated 10 October 1994 “On the specific features of the state management of the electric communication network for public use in Russian Federation”. The authorised capital of OJSC “Sviazinvest” was formed by the consolidation of federal shares of joint stock companies acting in the area of electric communications and established during the privatisation of the state enterprises for electric communications. The seven regional incumbents which make up Svyazinvest, majority-owned by the government, in early 2011 merged with the key subsidiary Rostelecom. The move created an integrated company based on Rostelecom which will be better placed to exploit economies of scale in coming years.[1]

Cross-country digital trunk lines run from Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok, and from Moscow to Novorossiysk.

Liberalization of the long distance communication market is another market driver. Rostelecom lost its monopoly when new players obtained licences for the provision of long distance communication services. Currently, there are about 32 active companies in this space, including MTT, Golden telecom, TransTeleCom and Synterra. Russian regulation stipulates that new players must build their own networks. The growth of traffic between Europe and Asia is an additional opportunity. more than 6,000 km of international communication cables were built during the first nine months of 2007, representing a 48.5% increase on 2006, according to the Russian Ministry of Communication and Mass Media.[2]

Russian PSTN (Public switched telephone network)

Russian PSTN has specific features. Lowest part of this model is example of the local network in the middle and large cities. Central Office (CO) is connected to the tandem exchange (TE). In some cases, COs are connected by the directly. Such possibility is shown by the dotted lines for three COs connected to the TEIII. COs may be directly connected with the Toll Exchange. This option is shown by the dotted line for the COII1. Automatic Branch Exchange (PABX) is served by the nearest CO. All TEs are forming the meshed network. Up to 90s, TE was independent element of the local network. Operators did not use the equipment combined functions Tandem and Toll Exchanges. So, TE provided connections between COs of the local network, and access to the Toll Exchange. A function of the Toll Exchange is to establish connections for the long-distance and international calls. Last type of calls is served by the Gateway (GW). Processing of the local calls is performed by the COs and TEs. If subscriber dials digit "8" (prefix of the long-distance connection in the national PSTN) all further processing of the call is a function of a Toll Exchange. Numbering plan for the cellular networks based on the Area Code (three digits) and number of mobile terminal (seven digits). In this case, Area Code defines the concrete cellular network.[3]

Mobile phone

There are three mobile phone service brands that cover all Russia: Beeline, MegaFon and Mobile TeleSystems. The access points (AP) are built in Long-Distance Telephone Exchanges (LDTE), Russian fixed line communication infrastructure which is present in every province. As a result, interconnecting mobile operator only needs to create "last kilometer" circuits to the regional LDTE, the requirement already imposed by its mobile license.

In May 2008 3G network was deplyed in St. Petersburg, in Kazan in June of that year, and in Sochi in July of that year. By 2010 3G networks were covered largely most of Russia.

On April 2011 MegaFon has deployed High Definition voice services on its Moscow and Sochi GSM and UMTS networks. As the key supplier of core and access networks to MegaFon, Nokia Siemens Networks was responsible for the HD voice implementation, which is also a world first for a commercial GSM network.[4]

In early 2011 Rostelecom signed a memorandum of understanding with the three main MNOs to develop a joint LTE network using the infrastructure to be built by Yota. The network will expand LTE availability to 70 million Russians in 180 cities by 2014, vastly improving regional broadband availability in coming years.[5]


Radio Rossii is the primary public radio station in Russia. Digital radio broadcasting is developing fast with the Voice of Russia announced on 1 July 2004, the successful implementation, and planned expansion, of its DRM broadcasts on short-wave and medium-wave. In September 2009 the Radio Frequency Service, the national regulator of broadcasting, has decided on the DRM has the standard for mediumwave and shortwave services.[6]

Radios: 61.5 million (1998)

Radio broadcasting stations: AM 420, FM 447, shortwave 56 (1998).


Privately owned stations are often owned by industrial groups either controlled by the State or with close connections to the government so that they can be called semi-state. Both state and private stations can have a national status (broadcasters that reach over 70% of the national territory), or a regional, district or local status. Local partners are often united in bigger networks.

In the 1970s and 1980s, television become the preeminent mass medium. In 1988 approximately 75 million households owned television sets, and an estimated 93 percent of the population watched television. Moscow, the base from which most of the television stations broadcast, transmitted some 90 percent of the country's programs, with the help of more than 350 stations and nearly 1,400 relay facilities.

There are about 15,000 TV transmitters. Development of domestic digital TV transmitters, led within "Multichannel" research program, had already been finished. New domestic digital transmitters have been developed and installed in Nizhniy Novgorod and Saint Petersburg in 2001–2002.

The state public television broadcaster is Pervy kanal (Channel One).[citation needed]


Broadband internet access is becoming more readily available in Russia, and as a result the internet is growing as an avenue for Russian commerce, with 42% of internet users in Russia shopping online, and 38% using online banking services.[7]


The IPTV developing fast as a cheap alternative to regular television. On July 2011 Rostelecom started a plan to unify IPTV services in Russia's regions offering standard features such as linear and on-demand TV along with new interactive and OTT services provided by the operator to various mobile devices. For this Russian company SmartLabs was chosen.[8]

Country code top-level domain: RU (Also SU – left from Soviet Union)

International connection

Russia is connected internationally by three undersea fiber-optic cables; digital switches in several cities provide more than 50,000 lines for international calls; satellite earth stations provide access to Intelsat, Intersputnik, Eutelsat, Inmarsat, and Orbita. In May 2006, Rostelecom launched a new fiber-optic data transmission line linking Russia's Far Eastern cities of Belogorsk and Blagoveshchensk with the Chinese city of Heihe on the Russian border.[9] On May 2006 TransTeleCom Company and North Korea’s Ministry of Communications have signed an agreement for the construction and joint operation of a fiber-optic transmission line (FOTL) in the section of the KhasanTumangang railway checkpoint. This is the first direct land link between Russia and North Korea. TTC’s partner in the design, construction, and connection of the communication line from the Korean side to the junction was Korea Communication Company of North Korea’s Ministry of Communications. The technology transfer was be built around STM-1 level digital equipment with the possibility of further increasing bandwidth. The construction was completed in 2007.[10]

See also


  1. ^;6/Market_Analysis;40/Research_and_Markets:_Russia_-_Telecoms,_IP_Networks,_Digital_Media_and_Forecasts;2466
  2. ^ Building Russia's Telecom Networks- Oppourtunities, chalanges and solutions
  3. ^ Research Institute of Telecommunications, St. Petersburg, Russia
  4. ^ Commercial HD Voice services debut on Russian GSM network
  5. ^ Research and Markets: Russia - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts
  6. ^ Exciting News from Russia (DRM)
  7. ^ “Интернет-услуги в России”, GfK Press Release, March 2010
  8. ^ Rostelecom selects SmartLabs for large-scale IPTV rollout
  9. ^ Rostelecom, China Telecom sign cooperation memorandum, 2006/7/4 10:10, CII4
  10. ^ TransTeleCom is to build first land link with North Korea

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