On 20 September the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted Resolution "On Amendments to the Rules of Provision and Obtaining Telecommunication Services" (the "Amendments") aimed, in particular, at protecting customers against aggressive marketing and spam.

The said Amendments broaden the definition of so-called "abusive calls", defining them as:

  • one-off, repeated or mass connections, including those to emergency telephone numbers, providers' or operators' helpdesks; as well as
  • sending messages about advertising campaigns, sweepstakes, contests,  goods' and services' proposals that have not been ordered [by the customer]; as well as
  • proposals to top up the balance [unless made by an operator]; and
  • that are impossible to terminate and that cause moral and/or monetary harm to the customer and /or operator, provider [of telecommunication services].

The Amendments also provide a more specific definition of spam, which shall mean electronic, text and/or  multimedia messages that are being sent to the customer's, provider's or operator's e-mail or data terminal without their prior written consent, except messages sent by operator, provider regarding provision of telecommunication services or messages sent by state authorities in particular circumstances.

The Amendments also provide for a more detailed list of actions that constitute unauthorized intrusion into telecommunications network, with traffic re-file (substituting international traffic with a cheaper national one, thus leveraging the discrepancies in tariffs), distribution of viruses, and looping of traffic being among them.

The Amendments oblige operators and providers of telecommunication services to suspend provision of telecommunication services to the customer if the latter makes abusive calls, sends spam, or intrudes to the telecommunications network. Moreover, operators and providers will be obliged to draw up reports on the above violations, and to send the respective reports to competent state authorities upon their request.

The Amendments will come into effect six months after their adoption, that is, on 23 March 2018. In the meantime, advertisers and marketers should reconsider their conventional approaches to ensure compliance with prospective legislation and avoid risks of their marketing channels being disrupted.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.