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MIIT Calls for Early End of Mobile Roaming Charges

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is taking action to encourage the telecom industry to phase out domestic mobile phone roaming charges. Efforts will be made to pursue marketisation of telecom fees and charges; encourage industry players to introduce mobile tariff plans meeting the needs of users who are currently not using phone plans bundling local calls, long-distance calls and roaming services; and accelerate the pace of abolishing roaming charges.

The following is MIIT’s response to reports on mobile roaming charges:

“Recently, media reports on mobile roaming rates have come to our attention. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has always been attaching great importance to the work of scrapping mobile phone roaming charges. Conscientious efforts have been made to study and advance the abolition of mobile phone roaming charges under the mechanism of marketisation of telecom rates and fees, and initial success has been achieved. Actions taken include promoting market competition in a bid to encourage industry players to launch flat-rate plans for local, long-distance and roaming calls with no roaming charges; and, based on the country’s strategy of integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, coordinating the three major telecom service providers to cancel mobile phone roaming fees for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

It is understood that the three major telecom service providers have launched flat-rate plans for local, long-distance and roaming calls targeting users who are frequent business travellers. Examples include the 4G plans of China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, as well as various tariff plans offered by mobile resellers. All these packages do not cover roaming service. Currently the threshold rate of such packages offered by the three major telecom service providers has dropped to about Rmb10. The share of users using these plans is rising rapidly year after year to reach almost 40% now. Moreover, we understand that some users who are not frequent business travellers tend to choose more preferential plans which only cover local calls.

In the next step, we will, in accordance with the national strategic plans for regional development, encourage industry players to gradually cancel domestic mobile roaming charges; continue to pursue marketisation of telecom fees and charges and further promote effective market competition in a bid to encourage industry players to introduce mobile tariff plans meeting the needs of users who are currently not using phone plans bundling local calls, long-distance calls and roaming; gradually expand the number of flat-rate plan users; and accelerate the pace of abolishing roaming charges.”

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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