"Rusnano proposes to introduce fiber optic cable marking in Russia. The idea is supported by its domestic manufacturers, who hope to protect the market from counterfeiting and foreign competitors in this way. The cable buyers - communication operators - believe that it is already sufficiently protected.
"Rusnano and the association "Electrocable" sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade a proposal to introduce marking of fiber optic cables in Russia, Timur Kotlyar, senior managing director for project support and promotion of products of Rusnano Management Company, told Kommersant. We are talking about a pilot project of voluntary marking, which will help to decide whether it is worth making it mandatory, he emphasizes. A working group has already been set up and the Centre for Advanced Technologies Development (CITT) is technologically ready to introduce cable marking, "if the government and the industry approve this decision," confirmed Deputy Director General of CITT Revaz Yusupov. The CCTT is already engaged in the marking of drugs, cigarettes, shoes and fur coats.
The idea of marking has been supported by Russian cable factories, said Timur Kotlyar. Today, you can sell cable produced in another country under the guise of domestic, he explains. Labeling will help protect the market from counterfeiting, agrees Andrei Nikolaev, General Director of Optical Fiber Systems.
The volume of the optical cable market in Russia at the end of 2018 grew by 8% to $211 million, imports remained at the level of 2017, exports grew by 70%, the company "Inkab" estimated earlier.
For cable buyers - telecom operators - the problem of counterfeiting is not obvious. "It's extremely difficult to import products from China under another brand, as the customs declaration indicates the brand, there is a possibility of inspection and serious sanctions," explains Oleg Grishchenko, president of the association Rosteleset. Operators are against counterfeiting and for quality cable, but "it's important not to bend the stick so as not to monopolize or even more bureaucratize the market," he emphasizes. If there are new requirements and the procedure of obtaining certificates becomes more complicated, it may cause difficulties in the supply of products, which "of course, will affect pricing," said Mr. Grishchenko.
There is no mass problem of counterfeiting on the market, said Mikhail Klimarev, Executive Director of the Society for Internet Protection. In his opinion, marking is necessary to limit import of imported cable, in particular, Ukrainian cable, "with which it is still difficult for the Russian to compete on price".
Import dependence remains, many domestic cables are made on imported fiber, adds Sergei Yefimov, General Director of the Association of Telephone Operators.
"The problem of counterfeit cables exists, but it does not concern us at all," said the press service of ER-Telecom. They explain that the company works directly with manufacturers, where the quality of manufactured products is confirmed by certificates. "We already buy a cable with a manufacturer's technical passport and the necessary documentation," they say at MTS, noting that the introduction of marking for the company is not essential. In "MegaFon" consider that voluntary marking has sense for a mass segment where the buyer cannot precisely define physical properties of the goods - for example, an optical cable in sound equipment.
The idea of marking the cable in Rostelecom is appreciated, explaining that it will give an understanding of its manufacturing history. At the same time, cable marking should not cause an increase in price, which means that it will not affect the cost of communication services, confident in the press service of the company.
Labeling is not the only initiative to tighten regulation of the fiber optic cable market. As Kommersant previously reported, October 2, the Ministry of Communications offers its mandatory certification under the law "on sovereign runet. The idea is opposed by the Ministry of Economy, believing that it may cause the price of products to rise.