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AMCU Accuses Mobile Operators of Billing Fraud

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The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) has caught the “mobile three” in manipulating customers’ awareness about voice communications tariffs.

The AMCU goes on considering the case on signs of unfair competition protection law violation by mobile operators “Vodafone-Ukraine”, lifecell and “Kyivstar” in the form of spreading information on per-second billing, which is actually the per-minute one.

However, the Committee’s annual report specifies that “Vodafone-Ukraine” (PrJSC “MTS Ukraine”) has complied with AMCU’s recommendations to rectify violations.

At the same time, the operators like lifecell and “Kyivstar” still keep on running their publicity campaigns, which misinform subscribers.

In particular, the “Kyivstar” messages state that the billing is per second. However, it is then added that calls are charged for the first second of every minute equaling the established per-minute fee. And seconds from 2 to 60 are not charged”, as АМКУ explains.

The info messages of the third-largest mobile operator lifecell also state that calls are charged per second. Further, lifecell adds that calls are charged for the first second of every minute and due to the fee for this first second of every minute, the next 59 seconds are provided free of additional charges.

“The subscribers of the above operators may get an impression that when billing outgoing calls they pay directly for consumed, which is not true. Thus, there are observed signs of unfair competition protection law violation in the cellular operators’ conduct”, as the report says.

In this regard, AMCU will have to apply sanctions against lifecell and “Kyivstar”.