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Russian Telco MTS Bans Skype, Other VoIP Services

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the but-that-complicates-my-wedding-plans dept.

Communications 94

An anonymous reader writes "MTS, one of the three largest mobile carriers in Russia, have been buying up smaller cable TV and Internet providers across the country, and besides the GSM/3G cellphone service they now also offer cable TV and home broadband Internet access. And their unified TOS [PDF] (Russian; mirror) for home broadband now says: "3.4.4. The customer may not use the Services for the purpose of transferring voice over the Internet; Skype and other similar software is forbidden." (screenshot). Really, why would you need to phone over the Internet, comrade, when you have a perfectly good cellphone [from MTS, presumably]?" Can anyone out there provide a good translation?

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Don't read this... it is a curse... (-1, Troll)

ExploreEveryAssMaze (2479742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646596)

In 1995, a little boy named Tom was playing with his toys in his living room. After about 15 minutes of playing, a tiny little man walked up to him and said, "May I explore the mazes of your bootyass?" Tom, surprised by this sudden occurrence, remained speechless.

After thirty seconds passed, the little man asked the exact same question that he asked previously. This time, Tom asked the little man why he would want to do such a thing. The little man said, "Because I want to explore every maze inside your bootyass." Tom, sensing no bad intentions from the little man, nodded and said, "Well, all right. But no tickle! If there's any tickle, I'll smoosh ya!" The little man nodded his head and was sucked into Tom's bootyass as if his bootyass was a gigantic spaghetti noodle.

Tom was beginning to have second thoughts about letting the little man explore the mazes of his bootyass, but he just shrugged them off. He thought, "What harm could allowing that nice, charismatic little man explore the mazes of my bootyass bring? He was so nice, charismatic, and thoughtful. I made the right choice."

However, soon enough, he discovered that he was terribly wrong. Suddenly, he was looking into his own bootyass as if he was looking through a security camera. Inside, he spotted the little man and numerous round doorways made out of bootyass; it looked like an endless maze. To Tom's surprise, the little man suddenly transformed into a red toy carrying a gigantic sack over his shoulders and began walking towards the smallest doorway of them all! "That sack will never fit through that doorway!", Tom thought.

The toy continued onwards, and eventually the sack got stuck inside the small doorway in Tom's bootyass. The toy, visibly angry, began trying to force the sack through the doorway! This inflicted tremendous amounts of tickle upon Tom's bootyass! The toy then began kicking the sides of Tom's bootyass out of frustration while laughing the entire time. Even more tickle was inflicted upon Tom's bootyass. Just when Tom thought that nothing worse could possibly happen to him, the toy forced the sack right through the doorway and went flying deeper into the mazes of Tom's bootyass and crashed into the side of it! This inflicted more tickle upon Tom's bootyass than ever before!

Now that you have read this (even a single word of it), the very same toy, along with his giant sack which should fit through no doorway, will explore every single maze inside your bootyass (thereby inflicting major amounts of tickle upon it)! To prevent this from happening, post this curse as a comment three times.

Re:Don't read this... it is a curse... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37647034)

TL;DR;FU.

Can anyone out there provide a good translation? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646606)

Yes.

Russia is still as fucked as it ever was. When the people who live their yearn for the good old days of queuing for potatoes and strict censorship you know nothing ever changed.

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (0)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646654)

I live in US, and I would rather prefer "queuing for potatoes" (once a year, after the harvest, potatoes are available at a huge discount) and "strict censorship" (so if a journalist actually manages to get something government-related published, government WILL HAVE TO answer in a public manner or fix the perceived problem).

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646704)

That's nice. I'd prefer if you were put up against a wall and shot.

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37648200)

I believe the previous poster was trying to make reference to bread queues, and simply lacked the brainpower.

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651370)

No, he was talking about potato queues. They looked exactly like WWII-time bread lines, but were a fundamentally different thing. Potatoes are easy to store (city apartment buildings even had underground storage space specifically allocated for that), and farmers often sold them at a massive discount when they had surplus after the harvest. Regular grocery stores or farmers' markets didn't have the capacity for this, so usually there will be a potato truck outside a grocery store, with a long line of people buying.

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646766)

And how is this different from what corporations are doing in America? It's the same thing.

In Russia a company disallows you to do something and it's terrible and fault of the goverment. But in the US it's the company's fault. How does that work?

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37647820)

In America, many tyrants to choose from
In Russia, only one tyrant

I'll stick with America, however much is sucks it's far better than the alternative presented here.

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37648700)

In the Russian warehouse, you can only buy red vases.

In the American warehouse, you have the free choice.

But what is it good for if all vases have holes in them?

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

Greystripe (1985692) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650120)

Then you put some dirt in it, a saucer under it, and plant flowers.

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651038)

But when I have to do all that myself, what do I need the vase for?

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650782)

In the Russian warehouse, you can only buy red vases.

In the American warehouse, you have the free choice.

But what is it good for if all vases have holes in them?

How are you going to put flower in those vases if they don't have holes?

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

InsectOverlord (1758006) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646918)

When the people who live their yearn for the good old days of queuing for potatoes and strict censorship you know nothing ever changed.

Okay, and now a translation from that into English?

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

Svippy (876087) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646936)

When the people who live their yearn for the good old days of queuing for potatoes and strict censorship you know nothing ever changed.

Okay, and now a translation from that into English?

Aye, commie, ya wanna live like we doin' where we liv', ya better get rid of tha' commie attitude of yours.

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

Clsid (564627) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647390)

You obviously have never been to Russia, before or after. People remembering the old days are fond of the fact of being in a country that was a superpower, where scientific achievements of all kinds were within reach, where schools were top notch and housing even if it was kind of crappy, was a better deal than the current prices for housing around the Moscow area. But that aside, I still think Russia has a bright future, their economy is still growing, they still have a good manufacturing base plus lots of natural resources.

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

zeraien (704094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37648472)

Yes, the housing was truly top notch, I fondly recall visiting friends living in their lavish 5 room apartments.

But wait, what's this? 5 doorbells next to the door?

What is that you say? Five families have to share this 1 bedroom, 1 living room, 1 study and 2 kids rooms, as well as this one bathroom and kitchen?

Only 15 people in this one family 5 room apartment, you say? They should be happy they weren't living on the street!

Or perhaps we can remember fondly stories told by our grandparents, who in the 60's got to live in ultra-modern german-built single-family villas.

And share them with the same number of families as there were rooms in the house....

Or maybe how happy they were when the kind and all powerful Soviet government, in the 70's finally gave them the opportunity to move their family of 5 into a 2 room apartment, on the fifth floor, without an elevator... Carrying that stroller up those five flights of steps was a bitch, I recall my grandma saying.

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with all the Soviet-defenders these days. That shit should never be allowed to happen again.

Oh wait, Putin is working on bringing it all back now! Yay!

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37648730)

Nostalgia is a bitch. She only tells you the good stories of the good ol' days.

Like, remember how much fun your college years were? And your childhood? Oh how much you want to relive those days! How simple life was back then! Until you remember the tests, the lack of freedom, the petty little things that made life unbearable compared to now?

Personally, I think people yearning for the good ol' days just miss the times when it didn't matter jack whether you worked or not, you had your job and as long as you were party loyal, you had it for life. Ahh, how simple life was back then.

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649530)

You are completely right, except for one wee little problem: in the "new" Russia, people still do all of these things except now it is not the Stalinist mismanagement but utter poverty that forces them to do so with no prospect for any improvement in foreseeable future with the added bonus of having lost free medical care and free education.

Most new apartments and houses are waaaaay out of reach of most families so only the top 5% or so lives it up like royalty, which if kept up for a long enough time will likely result in something stronger then mere "nostalgia" and the "lining up against walls" bit might be in vogue again.

Hence why Putin is so popular, most Russians came to believe that capitalism and democracy are essentially an american scam to get them to give up everything which they once had (medical care, education, super-power status, USSR, Soviet Bloc etc) in exchange for a bunch of worthless slogans from slick snake oil salesmen and then watch everything not nailed down getting stolen by a few sociopathic "oligarchs" to the cheers and back-patting by the Western "free press", press which then promptly turned - froth at the snout - on anyone trying to oppose the new feudal order as an "enemy of freedom and democracy". And so Putin exploits that sentiment by offering to star in this sad, old re-run in the role of the "patriotic strong-man to the rescue" who will oppose the West-sponsored thieves and restore national pride.

And the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

zeraien (704094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37651440)

Someone forgot to send out the memo about the "perks" of Freedom from Stalinist oppression; like poverty, unemployment, more corruption, crime, and more bullshit. Also, an interesting thought: back in the communist time, people knew who the enemy was - the man in the distinctly KGB-looking coat, and sometimes in a less subtle uniform.

The thing is; change for the better takes time, and Russians are not known for their patience or forward thinking. At least that's the opinion of this Russian... heh

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

pakar (813627) | more than 2 years ago | (#37653674)

on the fifth floor, without an elevator

Having a elevator is not a right... Lived on the 5'th floor in a building from 1908 that where protected so no elevator was allowed to be installed...
Sure it was a bit rough the first 2-3 weeks but running up and down the stairs a few times per day made wonders... Free training, why complain.....

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

GerryHattrick (1037764) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649032)

My time in Moscow, I broke away, used the Metro, visited people and institutions in the snow. They had a hard time, they'd fixed things, and it was 'normal'. They grudgingly respected their country, enjoyed life, worked hard and did intensive office-politics, and were forever trying to build businesses. How bad is that?

Re:Can anyone out there provide a good translation (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37648680)

Actually, when they yearn for the days of queuing for potatoes and strict censorship, you notice that something can be worse than that.

Russia will bring us the future. And this time even for real.

Translation? (0)

el_flynn (1279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646614)

All your base are belong to us.

The origin of the ToS point (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646616)

First, the translation is correct enough not to care.

Second, this language got into ToS before MTS buying the cable company and it is not known to be enforced - before or after the MTS deal. Reason for this thing was to reduce the size of bribes toregulating agencies, as the previous ISP had no license for voice-over-landlines and prohibiting Skype gave them a bragaining point in the bribe negotiations. Enforcing it wa, of course, superfluous.

MTS has promised to fix the ToS. We are waiting. Well, I am not - I use and old, medium-size, nice and predictable ISP. what do I care about MTS copper internet.

Re:The origin of the ToS point (3, Interesting)

gdy (708914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646878)

That's correct and here is a comment [habrahabr.ru] (in Russian) by an MTS representative

Re:The origin of the ToS point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649686)

The comment in the link claims that currently MTS clients are NOT prohibited from using voice over internet program such as Skype. Installation and use of such programs is NOT blocked and their services are fully accessible, regardless of what the user agreement says.

The problem was the site had the old version of user agreement, which had to do with previous agreement with another company when it didn't have a license to provide such services.

Supposedly, all these agreements are in the process of being updated, and this clause will be excluded.

Re:The origin of the ToS point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37648560)

It's all a load of bullcrap and inanity on the part of MTS PR dept.

First, there really are separate licenses for providing general internet access and for IP telephony - but the second one doesn't apply here, as it's Skype providing the VoIP service, not them.

And second, which shows what bullshit this "they didn't have license so they had to write this" is and the reason for that clause in contract - Comstar-Direct has their own IP-telephony services, so obviously they had the license and just didn't want users to pay less.

Re:The origin of the ToS point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650700)

Translation correct with one reservation: Skype is not totally prohibited but only for the purpose of voice communication.

Not new... (3, Informative)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646624)

Lots of German providers do this too (making VoIP a ToS violation), especially on plans which are for smartphones only... the big 5 gigabyte plans which allow tethering usually don't have this restriction... maybe the same is true here.

Re:Not new... (3, Informative)

zlogic (892404) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646638)

This rule is from MTS' fixed network ToS, and not the mobile phone disivion.

Re:Not new... (4, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646860)

Which is exactly why I am glad that, in the Netherlands at least, legislators are now set to implement Net Neutrality. This after a mobile carrier announced that they were going to block VoIP and WhatsApp because these eat too much into their traditional revenue model. It's a valid argument, but it would have been only a matter of time before such restrictions would have been placed on fixed networks as well, especially since almost all of the major ISPs here are owned by the traditional (mobile) phone operators, and most offer their own (premium) VoIP and TVoIP. They'd love to be able to block competing phone and streaming video providers, and levy a tax on "bandwidth hogs" (read: popular services) like YouTube, Facebook and Google. Some providers already had plans for this, but thankfully that particular shotgun was pointed firmly at their own feet when they touched the trigger.

Re:Not new... (-1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646984)

Net Neutrality. This after a mobile carrier announced that they were going to block VoIP and WhatsApp because these eat too much into their traditional revenue model. It's a valid argument, but it would have been only a matter of time before such restrictions would have been placed on fixed networks as well

Net-neutrality is a symptom of a broken market, one caused by flat-rate billing. I look forward to the day when the prevailing model isn't "here's a gigantic Internet connection but we don't want you to use it." The fixed-rate billing model encourages low utilization of the Internet.

All these services would still be cheaper than their old-fashioned analogues with variable rate billing, but ISP's would be in a race to lay huge pipes everywhere and provide great transit. Mandate the per-bit cost until the monopoly grants are eliminated.

Incentives matter, news at 11.

moron (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646994)

there is no relevance in between flat rate billing and the problem you made out of your ass. net neutrality is needed so that the isps will not be going deciding what their subscribers can see and what they can not.

Re:moron (-1, Troll)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647072)

there is no relevance in between flat rate billing and the problem you made out of your ass

Strong argument.

net neutrality is needed so that the isps will not be going deciding what their subscribers can see and what they can not.

So you're staying the market incentives aren't aligned for best-possible transit of Internet traffic then?

It's a shame we don't teach this subject in school anymore.

Re:moron (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647192)

So you're staying the market incentives aren't aligned for best-possible transit of Internet traffic then?

the myth you call market did not exist post 18th century. the stronger ones control what you call 'market' in effect. that's that. if we make an analogy, whatever cleaning supply you buy, it is manufactured by one of 4 major chemicals manufacturers, regardless of the apparent big label brand you buy. and these decide what will be in your cleaning supply.

if we let it, it will be same for internet.

there can be no incentive for 'good' of anything in an environment stronger can control the weak.

Re:Not new... (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647068)

I'm not worried about being charged by the megabyte, and Net Neutrality does not prevent ISP from charging me that way. What it does do is exactly what it says on the tin: keep the net neutral. That is important, because ISPs would like to (and have already expressed an interest in) charging for popular services and/or blocking services that compete with their own offering. Regulators rightly want to ensure that the ISP has no control over what you do on the Internet, not by pricing, blocking nor by traffic shaping. Even with a pay-per-megabyte plan, you still want and need Net Neutrality.

Re:Not new... (0)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647146)

My experience may be a bit US-centric, but here we already have anti-competitiveness laws that prevent a business from hurting competition using a monopoly. Unfortunately, we also grant monopolies that prevent competing ISP's, but more laws don't seem to be required. We had one ISP try to block VoIP about 5 years ago and our FCC smacked them down promptly with threats of such litigation.

But the problem remains, if you replace your cable TV with Netflix, the ISP makes the same monthly fee as if you don't. Clearly their costs increase, but their prices are fixed, so they have incentive to stop the behavior. That it cuts into their Cable TV business also provides them with unethical incentive to interfere, but they're put into a position where they can't be called to task for only an ethical lapse - they have real cost concerns too. I'm not insensitive to the problem - I was complaining [bfccomputing.com] about it almost 5 years ago, but since then I've learned to bait, not hunt.

Some people will say, "but they advertise to me a 10Mbps connection so I'm going to use it," ignoring the realities of internet connections being oversold as the reason they can get a 10Mbps connection out in suburbia for $45/mo. Yeah, we can all max them out, but if we do we have to expect prices to rise. Things like YouTube's 'preferred' colos are a step in the right direction (in theory, they don't seem to work well) to reduce peering costs but something like Skype will always be a many-to-many problem by its nature. We want ISP's to want to pass Skype. The most effective way to get somebody to behave is to incentivize them. Rewards and positive reinforcement work better than threat and negative reinforcement, that's just human nature.

If the ISP's had any upside to increasing traffic they'd behave more like they wanted to see increased traffic.

Re:Not new... (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647556)

Some people will say, "but they advertise to me a 10Mbps connection so I'm going to use it," ignoring the realities of internet connections being oversold as the reason they can get a 10Mbps connection out in suburbia for $45/mo. Yeah, we can all max them out, but if we do we have to expect prices to rise.

wait. isn't that a bit like "you can get two rubber boots for $45, but you may only take one of them with you, the other one has to remain in the store" ?
fuck it, either you provide what you advertise, or you get charged with false advertising. is something you advertise more expensive than you say it is ? wonderful, LET THE PRICES RISE. i would highly prefer honest service over slightly lower prices.

Re:Not new... (1)

wildstoo (835450) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647750)

Americans seem to have REALLY low expectations of their ISPs.

Here in an average-sized town in Scotland I've got a 100mb connection for £35($54)/mo. No capping, no traffic shaping, no services blocked.

The "realities" are that US customers have been trained to expect and accept shit service from their ISPs. Lack of competition in many states compounds the problem.

Re:Not new... (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37648284)

"Most of the rest of the world benefits from having far smaller distances to run service over!" I live in northern Canada and that is essentially the argument slapped about our faces whenever this issue comes up. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with Bell having no competition over landlines, due to a deal made in the past with an idiotic or arguably corrupt territorial government resulting in them owning the poles until 2012, if I recall correctly. Meanwhile they post record profits in a down economy.
Spectacular.

Re:Not new... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650588)

Here in an average-sized town in Scotland I've got a 100mb connection for £35($54)/mo. No capping, no traffic shaping, no services blocked

Good for you

Afaict in most of the UK your choices are

1: BT wholesale ADSL, generally pretty shitty due to the way BT prices backend bandwidth
2: LLU ADSL, can be pretty good if the right LLU provider is in your area but fundamentally limited by the fact it's ADSL so your speeds will depend on line length and at best with be 28Mbps (and i've never seen someone with a line that good).
3: virgin media cable, available to about half of households high speeds but they traffic shape. Their top package has lighter traffic shaping than the others but P2P is still shaped (and they don't say how they identify P2P traffic).

Re:Not new... (1)

wildstoo (835450) | more than 2 years ago | (#37674612)

I am, in fact, on Virgin Media cable. 100mb is the top tier.

I know that their 100mb service isn't available in all cable regions (yet). I also know they claim that they shape P2P on all tiers. However, I've torrented quite a bit and never seen evidence of shaping. I can max out the bandwidth on torrents. Maybe if i did it 24/7 they'd start shaping it, but it hasn't happened yet.

Re:Not new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37670758)

My experience may be a bit US-centric, but here we already have anti-competitiveness laws that prevent a business from hurting competition using a monopoly. Unfortunately, we also grant monopolies that prevent competing ISP's, but more laws don't seem to be required.

Where in the US do we grant monopolies that prevent competing ISPs? That's a load of horse puckey.

What we have are many cities, counties and parishes that are so low-density that only one provider can survive. For a second wired service to thrive, rates would have to go up, not come down, and the majority of residents in those hamlets have voted, with their wallets: ain't gonna happen.

Re:Not new... (1)

Crayon Kid (700279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647408)

Lots of German providers do this too (making VoIP a ToS violation), especially on plans which are for smartphones only... the big 5 gigabyte plans which allow tethering usually don't have this restriction... maybe the same is true here.

It's being done all over Europe AFAIK. VoIP is both blocked and considered a ToS violation and forbidden on "regular" plans, as well as grounds for account suspension and damages if you're caught trying to circumvent the prevention measures. But they do allow it on their unlimited plans.

Not sure if it's about hindering a directly competing service, or about them not having enough bandwidth for every client to be using VoIP over regular mobile plans, or about trying to squeeze the extra euro out of the client. Probably all of them. But I don't see how this is news.

Re:Not new... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37647588)

What bandwidth? VoIP apps usually use voice codecs with bitrates in 8-32 kbit/s range, GSM codecs are about 16kbit, so it's not much of a difference.

Re:Not new... (3, Insightful)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647724)

VoIP codecs are typically ~10kbit/s, which is a trickle on a 7.2MBit lines... I highly doubt it's the bandwidth that bothers them, especially when you're allowed to stream audio and video as much as you want within your bandwidth allowance ;)

Re:Not new... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650994)

I suspect it's mostly about money. By banning VOIP the providers can change different rates for voice than for generic data.

Netherlands (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646628)

In the Netherlands, we recently got legislation that prevents ISPs from having clauses like that.
As a result, the price went up and "unlimited" plans were scrapped to re-introduce download budgets.

After all, the providers want to have their money one way or another.

Re:Netherlands (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647382)

Right, in either scenario they win.

Not that i normally approve of federal government intervention, but some industries do need to be regulated to ensure fairness of service to the citizens. Industries that are fundamental to our way of life ( i wont use the term required however, as we don't NEED them for life.. but it is ingrained into modern society now, just as running water and electricity is )

Network? Nyetwork! (1)

robindch (1229278) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646634)

Tovarishch, that is why is called interNYET,

Translation: (5, Informative)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646636)

3.4. Network Subscriber is prohibited to:
3.4.1. Use Network Subscriber Equipment for purposes other than personal, family, home, orfor other purposes related to running a business.
3.4.2. Retransmit, perform (copy), or use radio and TV programs in any other manner (except for personal, noncommercial use by Subscriber).
3.4.3. Perform other actions listed in Part 6 "Subscriber's Rights and Obligations".
3.4.4. Use Services to transmit voice over the data networks, including transmission over the Internet, i.e. Subscriber is prohibited from using software such as Skype and similar, to transmit voice over the Internet.

Re:Translation: (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37648286)

Wouldn't 3.4.4 as written also prohibit downloading or streaming of songs and video containing voice? It appears it could be interpreted that way.

Re:Translation: (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649650)

As i read it, you are free to receive voice but not to transmit it yourself.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37650020)

I guess it also bans Teamspeak and Ventrillo and in-game voip services too... Maybe they can ban microphones in Russia next.

Re:Translation: (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37650666)

Use Services to transmit voice over the data networks
Transmit does not necessarily mean you're the one sending it. While that's one possible interpretation, simply causing the data to be sent over the network is a valid interpretation of the above. In that interpretation, clicking on a link that requests voice data be sent to you would still be a violation.

how to call it? (1)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646640)

free market or back to the censorship? I don't know, but it doesn't sound good...

Re:how to call it? (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646708)

Its called free market. Because the government isn't doing anything to 'interfere' in it, and the buisiness and the customers are taking care of it themselves.

So the customer gets screwed over with very little chance to do anything.

Re:how to call it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646716)

Ah, but any unsatisfied customer with a few billions on his pockets is free to start his own company with better ToS so it's ok.

Re:how to call it? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646842)

Reminds me of that 80's comedy, "Head Office", when the CEO of a large corp is taking the CEO of another corp on a helicopter tour of the city: "When I came to this town I only had 50 million dollars in my pocket. Now I own all this!"

Re:how to call it? (1)

Dark Lord of Ohio (2459854) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646756)

I am not sure it's free market, especially in Russia.

Re:how to call it? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37648928)

It is. Most places have a choice of several broadband providers.

My apartment has a choice of 3 operators providing connectivity by Ethernet lines, 1 cable company, 3 DSL operators and a couple of WiMax operators. If MTS starts to enforce this, then it'll take me about a couple of days to switch to another operator.

Oh, and there are no multi-year contracts, so no early termination fees or anything.

Re:how to call it? (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37648152)

Just like in America then. And you wonder why the Republicans want to do away with more regulations - so their buddies in big business can screw over the people even more.

Re:how to call it? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37648754)

"Free market" is today only an euphemism for censorship. Not by the government, but by companies.

Personally, I'd consider it the worse kind of censorship. I can't even vote those idiots out of office for doing it.

Net Neutrality (1)

rossjudson (97786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646664)

This is refreshed evidence of the ability of the internet to influence politics and history, of course. Discussions of net neutrality aren't often rooted in socio-political terms; actions like these demonstrate the need for neutrality. If there's a very concrete, very specific definition of what the internet is and what the internet isn't, the rest of the internet can take actions against entities and networks that "aren't the internet".

The political dimension of the net neutrality comes into play here. When laws and policy in the US are cemented in place that allow private and government entities to arbitrarily discriminate against traffic, it becomes very difficult for the internet as a whole to maintain any kind of defense. China, Russia, and numerous other countries around the world want anything BUT a neutral internet. It's hard for the US, for example, to argue for neutrality in other countries along political dimensions, while caving to corporate, anti-competitive interests internally.

Crappy thought formation here -- sorry for that. The essence is that unless the US takes the high road on neutrality, it will become less and less ubiquitous in the future, as more and more countries follow the downward spiral of fragmentation.

I am visiting China right now, and I can tell you that internet access here is just plain WEIRD. Imagine an internet in the US with a thousand provider firewalls and packet paywalls everywhere, twisting in the winds of contracts between provider and highest bidder. The Great Firewall of China? How would you like to be dealing with the Shitty Firewall of Comcast-St.Louis, instead? And then the wall after that?

Re:Net Neutrality (3, Insightful)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646800)

The problem is thinking somehow that there are some "special" classes of data and other "not so special" classes of data. Net neutrality isn't even really a political game, but rather an arbitrary designation that has no basis in reality.

Seriously think about it if you have any knowledge of network protocols: Does it really matter what you call the data as long as eventually the end users simply see the interpretation of that data? You can put a telephone conversation wrapped up into an MPEG movie requested via HTTP and the end users wouldn't know the difference as long as the software can pull that conversation out of the data stream. Turn it into a PNG image (or series of images) if you have to. TCP/IP ports numbers.... and those mean anything at all? Instead the firewalls pervert everything to squeeze through port 80 so the whole concept is meaningless in the first place.

This goes doubly so for China, as many of those who are skillful in the art of getting around the "Great Firewall of China" have used this concept of data encapsulation for a great many years. You can even do acts of Steganography to "hide in plain sight" data if you really care to in a multitude of manners.

All that attempts to put in classes of service actually accomplish is to raise the bar for an ever escalating arms race where all those who are attempting to control the internet will accomplish is to choke network bandwidth with needless protocols and extra layers of useless routing data that accomplishes nothing in the end. Data simply is data, and if you are being honest as a carrier as well as wanting to actually care about your customers, you would accept net neutrality as a basic business plan because economics would keep you from mucking up your service with all that extra useless data to encapsulate what customers really want to accomplish. Bandwidth goes down along with "quality of service".... not just for those who are playing games to get around the restrictions but also for the rest of us who have to use that same network for "proper" activities recognized by the network carriers. We all lose when this game is played, including the carriers themselves.

If only this argument could be explained to members of parliaments/congresses/legislatures as well as corporate boards of directors... but those folks like to be able to manipulate people for their own ends. Trying to explain liberty to folks like that is like trying to convince a brick wall that it can fly like a bird.

Re:Net Neutrality (2)

rossjudson (97786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646960)

I guess my general point is that unless the US (and similar countries) take the high road on neutrality issues, they're going to find it difficult to make political progress vis-a-vis the internet, because of the slippery slopes involved.

Yeah, you can get around the GFC, but doing so splits into two cases: Wanting to get information that you shouldn't be able to get, and wanting to get information that is only useful when transferred in a timely and usable manner. Gmail performance in China just sucks. OK, thinks me, I'll punch an SSH tunnel through to the imap server and pull it that way. Result? Works perfectly, but very slow. I can't say for sure, but I think that the GFC's approach to tunnel "issue" is simply to dramatically slow down certain kinds of traffic (like SSH), and especially traffic it does not recognize (or does, and wants to impair). There's little doubt in my mind that repeated use of SSH from a given endpoint will gather special attention, once enough red flags arise.

In the mean time, "just make it suck" allows "acceptable" traffic through, sort of. China's censors aren't stupid. The information and political ecosphere is massive; within a country the size of China it can only be approached on a probabilistic basis. Changing the "convenience factor" for information turns the dials on the probability model and generates certain political effects, when observed at scale.

It was news to me ('cause I'm foolishly optimistic) that any site that uses Facebook-backed content delivery, or twitter, or youtube, is simply not visible in China.

If packet-level neutrality is properly implemented globally, my SSH tunnel runs fast. Packet-level neutrality generalizes a solution to the issues of political and private impairment of the net. "Don't mess with the packets", and you have a internet freedom. Of course, that's I-want-a-pony, 'cause there are bad actors out there. It seems we'll be stuck with filtering, at a minimum.

A way to increase income for the telco... (2)

Uzull (16705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646668)

A way to increase income from international phone calls.
Can be circumvented by letting the internet phone provider calling you on a land line (free) or a cellular (with a small surcharge).

here is the text (4, Informative)

rim_namor (2454342) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646682)

To be honest with you, whoever wrote this, can't write proper Russian, because there is double meaning there, which I will try to untangle correctly

3.4 Clients are forbidden:
3.4.1 To use client equipment in manner that is different from personal use, family use, home use. Also clients are forbidden from using the equipment for purposes such as business.

(this sentence, combined with the top 'Clients are forbidden', made it unclear whether business use is forbidden or not, but I believe it says business use is forbidden.)

3.4.2 To redistribute (forward), (replay) copy, and use in any other manner TV and radio programs (except in cases of non-commercial use by the client).

3.4.3 To take any other action, which are defined in the section VI "the rights and obligations" (section of regulations).

(whoever wrote this, needs to have brain untangled, it's all mushed up).

3.4.4 To use these services for the purposes of transmitting voice information via the information network, including the Internet network, i.e., the client is forbidden from using such applications, as Skype and other similar applications for voice transmission over the Internet.

---

In short: you can only use this service for your personal/family purposes, not for business. You can't share TV and radio programs (there is nothing about parts of it, this was NOT written by a professional lawyer), and you can't use Skype.

AFAIC this is clearly monopoly control over the networks and trust me on this: this monopoly is completely government supported. There were many laws passed in Russia in the recent years to make sure there is as little available competition as possible.

Hey, what are governments for, right?

Re:here is the text (1)

FreakyGreenLeaky (1536953) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646788)

Vote that horse-riding ex-KGB fucker out of power then.

If the fucker refuses to be voted out, then have a Russian Spring. The Arabs can't have it all to themselves.

Re:here is the text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37647238)

Did you just said that Russians are going to revolt because one ISP prohibited the use of one of Microsoft's programs to send voice over IP? Man, you should go outside sometimes.

Re:here is the text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37651672)

"then have a Russian Spring. The Arabs can't have it all to themselves."

oh, no, you are too kind! the Spring is all yours!! don't worry about us, we'll manage.

Re:here is the text (1)

FilatovEV (1520307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646802)

AFAIC this is clearly monopoly control over the networks and trust me on this: this monopoly is completely government supported. There were many laws passed in Russia in the recent years to make sure there is as little available competition as possible.

Another expert in Russia? There's no monopoly on that market, with the "big three" mobile phone companies (each of those providing internet access as well): Beeline, Megafon, MTS. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Mobile_phone_companies_of_Russia [wikipedia.org] In such circumstances, you could only speak of a cartel agreement, but that's not clear given the article mentions only one mobile ISP.

I know all about this. Lived in Russia ETC. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646706)

Russians love Skype like everyone else does for obvious financial reasons. MTS was basically the Microsoft of RU GSM until Beeline came along and they're the major two. You might be thinking that someone could just change operators but although they're all enemies they work in unison on certain things.

Case in point "Roaming" . In USA I presume you can use your phone in Texas or New York and pay the same rates. Not so In RU, a change was made a few years ago with some sort of internal roaming. All GSM operators did this at once so you couldn't just change operators to avoid it. Basically when you travelled outside your oblast (state) where the SIM was registered as soon as you were out you'd get a welcome to roaming SMS. This friendly message basically says now that you're outside your oblast you are "roaming" as if you're in a different country.

It's a good way to increase your profits actually, just consider Moscow a different country to St Petersburg or Sochi or whatever and charge accordingly. But it only works when all operators do it together.

Having said that most Russians are pretty materialistic now and like western life and don't really want a change at this point in time despite the corruption and stuff. So nobody is going to care about whatever MTS is doing for more than a few minutes. Of course this isn't what they say publically but it's how they are. Life was more communal before because everyone was equally poor. Everyone being most people. The best apartments and conditions would go to the well placed people in the communist system. And many people who grew up in this time are rather angry at society from memories of poverty... case in point the huge number of communaleces... 3 families, maybe 7 people sharing a one bedroom small 40 metre one room apartment with one kitchen / bathroom. Worse if it's made of Kruschevs temporary panel junk. It's a guaranteed way for all hell to break loose.

Re:I know all about this. Lived in Russia ETC. (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646850)

In USA I presume you can use your phone in Texas or New York and pay the same rates. Not so In RU, a change was made a few years ago with some sort of internal roaming.

I know this isn't true for all carriers, but I do know this isn't universal in America. One of the worst places for "roaming" that I've encountered is Las Vegas, where a cell phone charge that normally is about $3 or perhaps even a buck almost anywhere else can cost nearly a hundred dollars or more. A good friend of mine was shocked when after a trip to a trade convention in Las Vegas discovered nearly $1500 in cell phone charges for the couple of days that he spend in that city.

For myself, I used a pre-paid cellphone where I paid the fees up front before hand (about $40 is all I spent), so when I was in Las Vegas I didn't have to worry about those extra fees. My buddy who pretty much never left my side and used his cell phone for about the same amount of airtime but used a more traditional carrier and was screwed. No, I don't remember his carrier, but I've heard the same story from several other sources and multiple carriers.

Roaming charges are not consistent even in America, and it is buyer beware. This is particularly true if you have a "dual mode" cell phone that can work on frequencies in both America and Europe (those do exist).

I also tried to get a network connection when I was in Vegas, and the best deal I could come up with was to take my laptop to the public library. Almost anywhere else was insanely expensive, including the local Starbucks restaurant.

Still, I feel your pain here with what you are going through in Russia. That same buddy of mine lived in Moscow for a couple years and told me a little bit about what life was like in modern Russia... oddly because he served in the U.S. Army for a number of years and even was in the Soviet Union back in the bad old days for a much shorter period of time.

Re:I know all about this. Lived in Russia ETC. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646996)

Do modern Verizon nationwide service contracts even have the concept of off network roaming in them?

Re:I know all about this. Lived in Russia ETC. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37647178)

That's ridiculous; with any of the major carriers (ATT Verizon Sprint) you get "free nationwide roaming". You only get the type of roaming charges you describe if you go for one of the cheap small carriers. With those you get cheap service within your home area, but get slapped with roaming charges anywhere else.

Re:I know all about this. Lived in Russia ETC. (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37652046)

The "free nationwide roaming" is relatively new.... in part because of these prepaid cell phones I was talking about.

I've seen the phone bills, and all three carriers you are talking about here (AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint) have all done this in the past. That customers jumped ship when that happened is understandable that such "free roaming" plans came up eventually due to customer complaints. Just make sure your plan is one of them before you get into that situation.

Cell phones bills are very much "buyer beware". Know your plan before you get caught in that situation.

Re:I know all about this. Lived in Russia ETC. (1)

nobaloney (1012719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37655070)

Sprint has had Free nationwide roaming on the Sprint network since they started the Sprint PCS network. The network was much smaller years ago than it is now, and yes, it is possible to be offnetwork even in the relatively populous SoCal area, but Sprint now offers free voice roaming (and limited data roaming) on all the plans I've looked at recently.

Including in Las Vegas.

this is a mistake (3, Informative)

sol1tude (1493183) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646722)

there is no ban from MTS. there was a mistake: this is an old version of Agreement from subsidiary. nobody looks in Agreement. proof: http://habrahabr.ru/blogs/telecom/129943/ [habrahabr.ru]

Plastic Factory Equipments (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646776)

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Factory Gate (-1, Offtopic)

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Not particularly unique (1)

j1976 (618621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646818)

The same clause is present in swedish 3G TOS from for example Teliasonera. I'm forbidden to use any voip service on my android phone, although I don't know if they actively try to detect such use.

Re:Not particularly unique (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37646910)

I work at Teliasonera and we detect it, and reports are presented to management. I'm told management would rather bill the customer voice rate for VoIP usage rather than block it, together with a penalty.

Re:Not particularly unique (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647354)

Telenor doesn't appear to block Skype on phones, either; not sure what their actual policy is, though.

Re:Not particularly unique (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649526)

It's in the TOS for my 2 Tele2 accounts as well (one for my 3G phone, including 1 GB data/month and one for the 3G USB dongle). Skype works on both though.

Obligatory ? (0)

norppalaho (878422) | more than 2 years ago | (#37646828)

1. In Sovjet Russia
2. Internjet
3. ???
4. Profit !!!

I can't believe (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647118)

that RUSSIA has problems with its free market..

My Russian is a little rusty but (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37647334)

It translates to either: Give me money or I f*** you comrade or Give me money I'm done f****** you comrade. I believe it is the later.

Time to report that case to RespectMyNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37648098)

The RespectMyNet project has been started to get a list of known net neutrality violations from ISP in Europe.

It's about time we shame them.

http://respectmynet.eu/ [respectmynet.eu]

Does this apply to Ventrilo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37649100)

I was just wondering if this applied to game-based voip. Ventrilo and other situations where game based communication relies on voip would fall under this clause too? It seems like a few countries are bound and determined to make themselves third-world internet countries, like Italy, Russia.

This is a great argument (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649358)

for net neutrality!

Claimed to be remnant of old agreements... read on (1)

arkamax (2478044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37649420)

For whoever can read Russian: http://habrahabr.ru/blogs/telecom/129943/ [habrahabr.ru] For those who can't - "Marina Akulich, blog-secretary of MTS, this is an official company comment - at this time company does not prohibit using any VoIP services such as Skype and the likes. Obviously, installation of such software is not blocked an all corresponding services are granted at full scale. The issue came out of Comstar-Direct (probably an acquisition done by MTS) company who did not have a license to provide voice communications over Internet (translator: that's a weird case of Russian licensing to you). All customer agreements are being updated now and this paragraph will be removed from all new version of such agreements". Bottom line: corporate SNAFU.
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