China Unicom and China Telecom have reportedly submitted applications to China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to end its anti-monopoly investigations, according to national news agency Xinhua. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the two telecoms giants, which represented almost 90% of China’s broadband market at end-September 2011, were found to be abusing their dominant positions by practicing price discrimination. Li Qing, the deputy head of the NDRC’s anti-trust arm, added that because neither telco met regulatory requirements for network integration, access costs had increased whilst transmission speeds had been slowed.
In requesting that the NDRC drop its investigation, China Telecom promised to work with China Unicom and other major network operators to fully integrate and interconnect their respective networks. In addition, it pledged to reduce the cost of broadband services to the public by 35% over the next five years. For its part, China Unicom has submitted to the NDRC for approval its plans to correct its conduct and has echoed China Telecom’s promises of faster speeds and lower costs to the public, also over the next five years.
As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the two telcos form a de facto monopoly, claiming between them 128.23 million of the nation’s 145 million broadband subscribers at the end of September 2011. The next largest operator at that date was China TieTong, which had an estimated 11.5 million subscribers, followed by Great Wall Broadband Network with three million.