Taiwanese telecoms regulator the National Communications Commission (NCC) has indicated that Chunghwa Telecom has agreed to its latest proposal to bring long-distance calling tariffs in line with local rates. As a result, from January 2012 fixed line users will be charged TWD1.60 (USD0.05) – per three minutes – for long-distance calls made during regular hours and TWD1 (per three minutes) during off-peak hours, regardless of their location. The first customers to experience the reduced rates will be those living in the minor archipelago of Matsu. In recent months Chunghwa has proven reluctant to abandon its asymmetrical long-distance tariffs, but this week the telco finally ceded to the regulator’s wishes. The Taipei Times quotes NCC spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang as saying: ‘The commissioners felt that customers would still have to choose from different long-distance service plans, which was too complicated. The commissioners then proposed that the company maintain current rates for local calls and make long-distance rates identical nationwide. In future, the rate for long-distance calls will not be an issue. The only difference will be when those calls are made’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in March 2011 the NCC rejected a proposal from Chunghwa to reduce prices for calls originating on the outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Penghu and Wuchiu, whilst preserving long-distance rates for calls being made between the mainland and the islands. Previously, in January 2011 the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) demanded that call rates to Taoyuan should be unified within six months, whilst the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) requested that Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu all enjoy the same charges as mainland Taiwan within a year. At the time Chunghwa president Chang Shaio-tung opposed the plans, saying that his company stood to lose TWD3.58 billion (USD122.6 million) from the unification scheme, complaining that the entire process is likely to take between four and five years to implement properly.