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Calls inside Skype and Viber not affected by Decree 98

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The Operational and Analytical Centre has published answers to the questions about the effect of the new Decree 98 "On Improving the Transmission of Electronic Messages."

From the answers to the questions it became clear that the calls between subscribers of programs like Skype and Viber are not covered by the ban. The same is true about CLIR, anonymizers and VPN.

Decree does not introduce restrictions on calls between Skype, Viber and other Internet messenger users inside Belarus, but on the initiative of the operators, the issue of the advisability and necessity of monetization is under discussion.

We publish the answers to the questions in full.

Will the Decree affect the issues related to the calls using Internet messengers Skype, Viber, Telegram and others, OTT services?

"The Decree will not affect such popular for Belarus citizens messengers like Skype, Viber, etc., provided that the connection will take place directly between the online messengers and if the owners of Internet messengers conclude agreements with Belarusian operators including the termination of IP-traffic directly to Belarus telephone communication network."

Does the Decree provide for limited calls between Skype, Viber and other Internet messengers user (OTT services) in Belarus will there be additional charges for this?

"The Decree does not regulate this matter. However, at present, on the initiative of regulators of telecommunications, operators in the field of information are suggesting the issue of the appropriateness and necessity of the monetization of certain services and the services provided with the use of telecommunication networks. As a result, operators and regulators in the field of information will develop common organizational, technical and legal measures to allow for the charging of Internet messengers and OTT services."

Will it be a violation of the Decree, if subscribers hide their phone number using CLIR service for outgoing calls?

"No. It will not. When hiding phone number (connecting service CLIR) operator will still know who actually owns the subscriber number, as opposed to the subscriber receiving the call."

Does the decree regulate issues related to the use of so-called "CGI proxies" and channel virtual private networks (VPN-channels)?

"This decree does not regulate the procedure for using" CGI proxies " and virtual private network channels."

The main purpose of the decree, according to the OAC website, is to fight with the gray traffic.

"For a number of years in our country has been spreading the practice of the illegal business activities involving provision of transmission services of voice and telecommunication messages in violation of legislation requirements in the field of telecommunications activities (the so-called" gray traffic"). It was done by persons not having the status of Telecommunication operator.

In fact, such persons, using the infrastructure of telecommunication operators and having contract signed by third parties for the provision of telecommunication services (Internet access, the provision of mobile communications and other services to operators, such as "Maksifon") have been engaged in illegal business activities, which, without registration, special permit (license) is prohibited by law."