Tajik mobile operators plan to raise the rate of outbound calls to Russia by 20 percent.

A consolidated tariff on outbound calls to Russia for all mobile phone operators functioning in Tajikistan – 1.20 somoni per one minute (VAT and excise duty included) – will be introduced on January 20, 2017.

This price hike is reportedly connected with functioning of the Unified Electronic Communications Switching Center.

According to information posted on the website of the mobile operator Megafon Tajikistan, the new rate is introduced in line with a decision of the Antimonopoly Agency of Tajikistan.

The latest rise in the rate of outbound calls to Russia was introduced on November 1, 2016 – the rate was raised from 0.69 somoni to 1.00 somoni.  

Communicating with relatives abroad is a valuable emotional lifeline for many Tajiks, especially the vast number of labor migrants abroad.  More than 1 million Tajiks are estimated to travel to Russia to obtain jobs that are sorely lacking inside their own country.

Recall, the Tajik authorities established the Unified Electronic Communications Switching Center last year and required that all Internet and mobile communications traffic be run through the single state-owned telecoms provider Tajiktelecom.  The Center centralizes all telephone and Internet communications with the aim of facilitating surveillance on the grounds of combatting terrorism and extremism.  It allows the government to have complete control over domestic communications without any safeguards.

The idea of creating a government-administered information gateway has been circulating since 2005.  The stated aim of the recurring initiative has been to prevent “illegal” communications that could undermine national security.