The Voentelecom operator controlled by the Ministry of Defense, according to the Roskomnadzor registry, received a virtual operator license (Mobile Virtual Network, MVNO) for five years to work throughout the country. The MVNO of Voentelecom will operate on Tele2 networks, an employee of one of the virtual operators and a co-owner of the other know. According to the latter, its target subscriber base is military, and the main difference from other operators is enhanced network security. The link is intended for residents of military camps and can be extended to all military personnel in the country, a federal official confirms.
Residents of military camps are the audience of fixed access to the Internet of Voentelecom, it is logical to extend to them the services of a new virtual operator, explains an employee of the company, a partner of Voentelecom. And if Voentelecom intends to connect the military camps in the first place, nothing prevents the virtual operator from serving all the military that are in the coverage area of the networks on which it will work, explains an employee of one of the operators.
Voentelecom will have full MVNO, says co-owner of one of the virtual operators. Other interlocutors of "Vedomosti" do not know about it. Full MVNO means that nothing other than frequencies and towers is taken from the base operator, explains the founder of Ubic (engaged in processing and analyzing big data) Vitaly Sattarov, this model gives you full control over the network and data, allows you to talk about more security, implement different protection and encryption systems, develop independently from the base operator.
With substantial investments, it is realistic to provide additional protection for the network, for example, with cryptography, so that traffic comes to one server, is re-encrypted and sent further to the already updated and to a secure network, argue two employees of different virtual operators. Full control over the virtual operator also allows you to independently encrypt data to enhance security, collect and analyze data under a contract with a subscriber, enter any special settings and restrictions, lists Sattarov.
In March, a law was passed in Russia restricting the use of smartphones and the Internet by military personnel. In particular, the law prohibits military and recruits from carrying smartphones when they are engaged in military operations, are on alert, are on the territory of a military unit and in some other situations. Under this law, they also can not write on the Internet about the features of the service, about former colleagues and relatives.
If a company creates a full-fledged virtual operator, that is, it builds a part of the infrastructure itself, purchases and controls equipment and sets up the settings, it can literally change the services for the subscriber in any way, as confirmed by two employees of different virtual operators. You can restrict access to the Internet - block access to certain resources completely or when they fall into a separate zone (conditionally, a military unit), they agree.
And if you do not restrict a person’s access to the Internet, you can open and analyze his traffic after the fact, although it is expensive and difficult, two employees of different virtual operators continue and require the operator to receive a special authorization certificate from special services - this may be possible in for military purposes. You can also monitor geolocation via MVNO - track it separately or block some services based on it, the Vedomosti interlocutors say.
An employee of one of the operators warns that MVNO can receive subscriber geodata only from the operator whose network he uses, but technically this is not a problem. With no single option described for a subscriber, the speed of access to resources does not slow down, according to the sources of Vedomosti.
You should not overestimate the possibility of additional settings in a separate MVNO - existing operators are able to offer corporate rates with special settings, where, for example, you can also block access to entertainment sites, skeptical Sattarov.
A few years ago, Voentelecom already tried to enter the mobile market. In 2011, the then Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov appealed to the then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with a request to allocate the frequencies to Basis Telecom - a little more than 25% belong to Voentelecom, and 75% minus 1 share to Aykominvest, Vitaly Yusufov, the son of former Energy Minister and former Special Representative of the President Igor Yusufov. A year later, the company received a frequency of 2.3-2.4 GHz for deploying an LTE network throughout Russia. But in 2013, the new Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu wrote to President Vladimir Putin that Basis Telecom does not need frequencies, and the Ministry of Defense does not object to putting them up for the competition. In 2014, the court overturned the decision of the State Commission on Radio Frequencies to allocate frequencies to Basis, and in 2015, after a series of court proceedings, several dozen base stations stopped working, which the company managed to launch at Russian universities.
MVNO "Voentelekom" can become one of the largest in the country, if it works with the military - it is a big niche, says the general director of "TMT Consulting" Konstantin Ankilov. But, as a rule, it is difficult for a new operator to find a unique offer that would force out existing operators in its favor, and additional cryptography and, all the more, traffic restrictions are hardly interesting for subscribers in everyday life and cannot be of interest, he warns. Accordingly, the full potential of the military MVNO is still associated with the support of the Ministry of Defense - it can effectively spread if the ministry gives direct recommendations to the staff or, for example, introduces a regulation on which the military will be more securely connected than Ankilov suggests.
As an independent MVNO business for the military, it is unlikely that it can cause serious market demand - rather, it will be possible to distribute it politically, Sattarov agrees. In his opinion, it is more promising to launch MVNO in a large city than in a military town: distribution channels already exist there, a lot of potential target groups of subscribers, more diverse data can be collected for the development of urban infrastructure.
Representatives of the Ministry of Defense and Voentelecom did not respond to the request, the representative of Tele2 declined to comment.