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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

New Phone Fees Raise Costs

The introduction of a ­­pay-­per-minute billing system for millions of landline-telephone users has led to a rise of more than 11 percent in the size of average bills, the Federal Tariff Services said Monday.

A law on telephone tariffs, passed in October 2005, which became effective Feb. 1 allowed telephone operators to charge customers a variable set of contracts. The first option allows callers to pay for local calls using the per-minute billing tariff. The second option requires subscribers to pay a fixed monthly fee of up to 400 rubles ($15) for unlimited calls. Under a third option, customers can pay in advance for a fixed number of minutes per month. Anything exceeding the purchased amount is charged for separately at a per-minute rate.

The deputy head of the Federal Tariff Services, Vitaly Yevdokimenko, announced the figures at a meeting of IT and Communications Ministry officials Monday.

Moscow City Telephone Network, or MGTS, also said it registered a positive response, with 84 percent of its 4 million subscribers opting for specific plans within the first month of introducing the new tariff.

"The law proved effective in the sense that those who hesitated to choose a tariff plan were automatically placed on a monthly subscriber fee of about 380 rubles, regardless of how many minutes a subscriber talked for," Yekaterina Nevskaya, the public relations manager for MGTS, said Monday.