As the author points out below VOIP providers that terminate on the PSTN are being forced to do deals with incumbents just in case the valuation of Svyazinvest's privatization is depressed. Sad to see that innovation ends up in Rostelecom's hands.
Rostelecom reportedly acquired Zebra Telecom, which provides IP telephony and Internet access services, in a move to get closer to end customers and buy back lost market share.
Russia’s new telecom law that went into place officially on Jan 1 prohibits offering a VoIP service without meeting some requirements. Under the terms of the new law any VoIP originating or terminating onto the Russian PSTN, or that terminates internationally, must switched through one of the nation’s long-distance operators. Rostelecom is one of the incumbents that holds the license to provide long-distance service. Zebra Telecom and likes faced several options:
to make a deal with one of the incumbents;
to be acquired by incumbents; and
to become one of the incumbents by investing into the infrastructure to meet the government requirements to qualify as an incumbent.