Canada takes unprecedented step of cutting off Russia's big four mobile carriers from roaming

4 September, 12:21 PM
Mobile operators from Russia will be left without roaming in Canada (Photo:Jonas Leupe \ Unsplash)

Mobile operators from Russia will be left without roaming in Canada (Photo:Jonas Leupe \ Unsplash)

Canadian mobile operators have terminated or are preparing to terminate roaming agreements with four major Russian mobile carriers, Russian media outlet RBC reported on Sept. 2, citing sources in several of the Russian mobile companies.

"We received notifications about the termination of the service, and then one by one, local operators began to disconnect us from roaming," the source said.

The move affects MTS, Megafon, Tele2, and Beeline. According to the source, the reason for this was Canada's sanctions against Russian mobile operators. The disconnection of Russian operators from roaming was confirmed to the publication by one of the three national mobile operators in Canada - BCE.

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The company explained that it made this decision "to comply with the Canadian government's sanctions against Russia." At the same time, other Russian operators will not be affected by the measure.

No other country has terminated roaming agreements with all Russian operators at once.

According to one of the publication's sources, previously, when roaming was disconnected, companies could switch to another operator or transfer their customers' traffic through an operator from another country. However, the first option is not possible in Canada, and the second takes time.

In addition, operators from third countries may themselves be blocked for helping Russian companies.

MegaFon and VimpelCom confirmed to the publication that they had received a message about the termination of roaming agreements. At the same time, the companies note that their subscribers still have access to communications in Canada.

Without roaming, subscribers of Russian operators will not be able to receive text messages to a Russian number.

In June 2023, NV reported that Ukrainian operator Kyivstar's owner may complete its withdrawal from Russia in the next few months.

In May 2023, Veon received permission from the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to sell its Russian assets.

News emerged at the end of November 2022 that Veon was selling the Russian operator VimpelCom to local top management.

In June 2023, Veon recorded a $449 million impairment of its Russian business in the first quarter of 2022.

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