BEIJING - China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII) and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) jointly announced on Wednesday the country's mobile roaming service charges would be lowered starting from March 1 amid fervor of consumer expectation to entirely abolish them.
Two girls use mobile phones in a street of Beijing on January 22, 2008. China's Ministry of Information Industry and National Development and Reform Commission jointly announced on Wednesday the country's mobile roaming service charges would be lowered starting from March 1. [Xinhua]
Mobile phone users would be charged 0.6 yuan (about 8 US cents) per minute for making calls outside the local service area, and 0.4 yuan, or about 5 cents, per minute for receiving calls when they travel to another province, according to the new plan.
It compares with current charges of 1.3 yuan to 1.5 yuan per minute for the roaming service for Chinese cell-phone users under different payment schemes, prepaid or paying monthly.
This means that the country's 539 million mobile subscribers would be able to enjoy price cuts ranging from 54 percent to 73 percent from next month on, or no later than May 1.
Service providers could be allowed to delay the implementation of the new plan due to time needed for technological upgrading of their charging systems.
The announcement also made it clear that no further fees, which are currently an additional 0.07 yuan, or 1 US cent, for every six seconds, would be charged if the roaming service occupies a long-distance phone line.
The country's move to cut such charges is in response to increasing complaints from mobile phone users about the telecom industry reaping handsome profits by charging monopolistic prices.
Previously, a public hearing was held on cutting charges for domestic mobile roaming services in January to discuss two proposed plans, which have aroused heated discussions and disputes.
The hearing was attended by five consumers -- including one from Beijing -- as well as representatives from mobile service providers, experts, scholars and relevant government officials.
The two ministries in charge said most representatives at the hearing had supported plan B, which offers more favorable price cuts than plan A, except service providers, who wanted plan A.