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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rostelecom Mulls New Business Strategy

Consulting giant Arthur Andersen will present recommendations on a five-year strategy for long-distance operator Rostelecom by April 12, said Vadim Balashov, head of telecoms at Arthur Andersen.

"So far the strategizing process has not been completed, but it's pretty clear that it will be completed by April 12," when Rostelecom holds a news conference, Balashov said.

Without going into details, Balashov said more than one business plan was being studied. Industry observers say options for the nation's long-distance monopoly include merging with one of the seven pan-regional companies to result from consolidation or transferring some regional assets to these companies.

The industry should welcome any clarity from Rostelecom, of which national operator Svyazinvest has 51 percent voting rights, and whose future status is still unknown in light of the government's huge consolidation of the telecommunications sector.

"There will be many more opportunities — and threats — once Svyazinvest completes restructuring … so Rostelecom has to start preparing for that now, hence this strategy project," Balashov said.

The emergence of small alternative operators and telecoms created by monopolies — including the Railways Ministry's Transtelecom, Gazprom's Gaztelecom and UES's recently announced telecoms foray, each of which is trying to snap up data, voice and Europe-Asia transit traffic — means that Rostelecom's plan could not come too soon.

"The competition is real, already today. It will be much more real tomorrow," Balashov said.