Taiwanese consumer watchdog claims mobile calling rates are still too high

16 Apr 2012

Despite recently announced plans for Taiwan’s mobile network operators to reduce mobile calling rates, the country’s Consumers’ Foundation has claimed that such cuts are insufficient in terms of bringing charges in line with most of its regional neighbours. According to the Taipei Times, the Foundation claims that the average mobile phone call rate of the country’s three largest cellcos is higher than equivalent charges in Singapore, China and Hong Kong, and only marginally lower than Japan. Consumers’ Foundation secretary-general Chen Chih-yi was cited as referring to a survey conducted by the watchdog last month regarding mobile calling rates for Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile Company and Far EasTone which reportedly demonstrated the discrepancy against rates in other countries; that study claimed that one of the lowest calling rates in Taiwan was 18 times the rate of some of the cheapest plans available in Hong Kong.

Consumers’ Foundation chairperson Joann Su urged the NCC to investigate whether operators were still charging too much for mobile calls, with Chen arguing that cellcos should cut their current rates by some 50%. Indeed, despite last month’s announcement by the National Communications Commission (NCC) that Taiwan’s top five cellcos would reduce their mobile phone call charges, it has been suggested that the average reduction of 3.58% remained insufficient in terms of offering any real benefit to consumers. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, customers signed up to services offered by Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile Company, Far EasTone, Asia Pacific Telecom and Vibo Telecom have seen lower calling rates, with the five aforementioned telcos reducing charges for both calls and text messaging fees in compliance with NCC policy from 1 April 2012; the new rates will remain valid until March 2013.