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November 25, 2009

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Fixed-line phone services at 2001 prices

CHINA'S regulators yesterday said charges for fixed-line telephone services should not exceed charges set in 2001 to encourage market competition and protect consumer rights.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Development and Reform Commission yesterday said: "We have set up an upper price to protect consumers, and telecommunications firms have more space to adapt their fee structure."

At present, three telecommunications carriers have fixed-line phone services -- China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile.

According to the 2001 fee structure, carriers can charge users from 0.18 yuan (3 US cents) to 0.22 yuan for the first three minutes and 0.09 to 0.11 yuan for each following minute. Meanwhile, carriers can charge users 10 to 35 yuan as a basic monthly fee.

China Telecom's Shanghai branch yesterday said it wouldn't be changing its current fee structure.

The number of Chinese fixed-line subscribers fell by 2.37 million last month to 321.38 million, the MIIT said.

The trend is for mobile phones to gradually replace fixed-line phones in the country, analysts said.


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