Subscribers Owe More than 20 Billion Rubles to the Big Three
26.03.2014The volume of overdue payments for telecommunication services rose by 25% in the previous year. As of March 1, 2014, the debt of subscribers amounted to 23.5 billion rubles, 20 billion rubles of which are owed to the Big Three operators. Mobile Internet and smartphones are to blame, experts at National Recovery Service explain.
Joint debt for fixed-line telephony services as of March 1 amounted to 2.2 billion rubles, 2 billion rubles of which are overdue payments for domestic long-distance and international calls. The cost of unpaid services of providers and operators of IPTV amounted to 1.3 billion rubles. However, most of all the Russians owe to mobile service providers: around 20 billion rubles.
At the beginning of the year, according to the NRS, the growth of overdue debt amounted to 1.5% a month. In May – September the average monthly growth rates will increase up to 2–2.5%. This is explained by an explicitly seasonal nature: the debts accumulate increasingly during the vacation season.
The average amount of debt for telecommunication services, upon reaching of which the companies turn to recovery agencies, amounts today to 890 rubles, the average payment delay period is 197 days. Three years ago the companies were willing to wait for payment twice as long, and they turned to recovery agencies only when the amount of debt exceeded 1,400 rubles. “An increase in the average amount of debt is related to the big number of smartphones and development of the mobile Internet. As a result, the subscribers pay not only for telephone communication but for Internet services, as well,” explained Sergey Shpeter, Senior VP at NRS.
Muscovites less than everybody else hurry to return their debts: an average overdue time period in the capital city amounts to 300 days. The fastest paying debtors live in Tatarstan, the overdue time period here usually does not exceed 109 days.According to statistics, operators are willing to wait longer for men to pay their debts.
According to information of NRS, women's debts are transferred to recovery agencies when their average amount reaches 758 rubles and the overdue time period is 174 days. The companies wait from men making their payments 50 days longer, at that the critical amount of debt for men is as much as 1,019 rubles. “Emergence of such debt is often connected to the use by subscribers of different services, which make them go in the red: the Promised Payment, Credit of Trust, and other services activated upon the subscriber's consent. Another source of debt are content services delivered by third-party providers,” Yuliya Dorokhina, Press Secretary at MegaFon, explained to RBC.
She says that subscribers often use content services (download games, participate in SMS-quizzes), not paying attention to their cost, and then they refuse to pay for them. Another reason for overdue debt may also be a disagreement of subscriber with charged amounts or just a habit to not pay attention to small debts.
Operators themselves do not want to reveal amounts of their subscribers' overdue bills. “VimpelCom (Beeline brand) has not decreased the volume of its debt portfolio; we do not see deterioration of the payment discipline by our subscribers,” Anna Aybasheva, Press Secretary of the company, said to RBC. According to Ms. Aybasheva, the operator collects debts both through its internal service and through cooperation with recovery agencies. “We use agency scheme to transfer debt to them. We also assign the right of claim of some of the debts to recovery agencies,” Ms. Aybasheva explained. Representatives of MTS withheld comment.