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Shanghai telcos beat fee deadline

SOME of Shanghai's telecommunications carriers have already adopted a flat fee for the short message service, ahead of the regulator's deadline today.

All telecom carriers are required to set 0.10 yuan (1.5 US cents) as a uniform fee to send SMS nationwide from today, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Chinese telcos canceled different fees they charged among themselves for sending SMS from January 1 and the flat fee for sending SMS takes effect from today, the ministry said.

But the city's telcos, including the Shanghai branch of China Telecom and China Mobile, have started charging 0.10 yuan as a uniform fee for SMS since January 1.

The Shanghai branch of China Unicom said yesterday that it would also adopt the flat fee from today. Previously, Unicom's users were charged 50 percent more if they sent short messages to users of rival carriers like China Mobile, the country's No. 1 telco, and vice versa.

The move helps to create a fair and open telecom market and smaller carriers, like China Unicom and China Telecom, will gain from it, industry insiders said. China has over 600 million cell phone users.



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