MII to ease controls on telecoms fees?

5 Feb 2004

China’s Ministry of Information Industry (MII) is said to be poised to relax its controls on telecoms fees this year, in an effort to drive development within the telecoms sector. Although China’s mobile market has ballooned into the largest in the world with over 270 million users, there have been no reductions in telecoms fees in recent years. If the regulator adopts a new lower fee structure it could have a significant impact in a market where competition has already led to a series of price wars; lower fees would be the most competitive way for cellcos to attract new customers. However, sources close to the MII say it has given no clear indication that it will go as far as to adopt one-way charging for mobile telecoms services, and that it also has to unravel the problem of interconnection between fixed and mobile networks. Under China’s current regulations, domestic wireless operators must charge for both incoming and outgoing calls. But in reality, weak enforcement by regulators and domestic operators’ willingness to exploit regulatory grey areas in order to improve growth have seen many offering one-way charges on certain packages.