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Russia Mulls Privatizing ERA-GLONASS Emergency Network

RIA Novosti

13:49 05/06/2014

MOSCOW, June 5 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian government will consider privatizing the state-owned ERA-GLONASS emergency calls network, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

A source in the know told Kommersant Thursday, a plan to privatize ERA-GLONASS, a real-time satellite service for reporting and responding to traffic accidents, was recently discussed at a Kremlin meeting attended by President Putin's chief of staff Sergei Ivanov.

"The Transportation Ministry has proposed setting up a public private partnership to operate ERA-GLONASS as a joint-stock company based on the non-profit GLONASS partnership, and then increasing the number of shareholders through an additional stock placement,' according to the paper's source in the Russian government.

The state is to control the joint stock company and sell minority equity stakes to private partners, including Russia's "big three" mobile operators, Megafon, MTS and Vimpelcom, long-distance telephony provider Rostelecom and search engine Yandex.

GLONASS CEO Alexander Glushko confirmed the paper's report. According to Kommersant, ERA-GLONASS infrastructure cost Russia a whopping 3.9 billion rubles (over $111 million). The system provides data from Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System to emergency responders. ERA-GLONASS is based on the European eCall/E112 standard, and allows emergency services to immediately pinpoint the location of car accidents or similar critical situations.

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