Russian telecoms ask govt to subsidize equipment for data storage

Russia’s telecoms operators have asked the government to subsidize their purchases of equipment they need to comply with a new data storage law, Reuters reported.
Russia telecom Capex and revenue forecastMobile phone operators MTS, state-controlled telecoms group Rostelecom and operators Megafon and Vimpelcom made the request.

Telecom operators need to store the content of calls and correspondence for six months to help Russia’s security services according to new regulations. Industry lobbies and internet freedom advocates raised concerns about the legislation.

Leading operators have said they will each spend at least 40 billion roubles or $627 million on implementing the legislation over the next five years.

Operators asked two government ministries to help draw up a resolution that would set rules for granting subsidies to banks and leasing companies, so they can offer loans and contracts for buying equipment at preferential rates.

The costs of buying equipment to gather information for telecoms operators could amount to from 10 percent to 20 percent of their spending on supporting and developing information networks over the next five years.

The operators, arguing their case, pointed to an existing national program that envisages government support for Russian companies that produce telecoms equipment domestically and preferential loans for companies that buy it.

Under the data storage law, operators are required to use Russian-made equipment. IBM, Dell EMC, Pure Storage, Oracle, among others, are some of the well known data storage companies in the world.

The data storage legislation was one of several Internet laws passed by Russia in recent years.

Other laws require search engines to delete some results, oblige messaging services to share encryption keys with security services and make social networks store Russian users’ personal data on servers within the country.