Operators to set own tariffs from October

5 Sep 2005

According to reports from the government’s official Xinhua News Agency, China will allow its telecoms operators to start setting their own tariff structures from as early as next month. In a joint decision, the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and the country’s primary economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, have said that the four main operators – China Telecom Corp, China Mobile (Hong Kong), China Unicom and China Netcom – will be allowed to set their own tariffs from 1 October 2005, with the sole condition that the new tariffs will be restricted to a maximum fee per minute, to be determined by the relative government agencies involved. China is keen to deregulate its tariff structures to foster competition among its national carriers ahead of a planned restructuring of the telecoms industry later this year. However, industry analysts agree that the new ruling will not have a major impact as intense competition is already driving prices down in a Chinese market that is fast approaching maturity.