China / Society

China's telecom operators to scrap domestic roaming fees

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-08-21 14:25

China's telecom operators to scrap domestic roaming fees

A Chinese customer tries out smartphones in front of logos of (from left) China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom at a mobile phone store in Hangzhou city, East China's Zhejiang province, January 13, 2016.[Photo/IC]

China's major telecom operators have announced plans to cancel domestic roaming charges as they are instead turning to 4G services as a major source of profit.

China Mobile Communications Corp, the country's largest telecom operator, recently said they will stop charging domestic roaming fees by the end of this year.

Since July, they have stopped selling new service packages that include domestic roaming charges on cross-province phone calls.

Mobile users are currently charged 0.6 yuan (9 cents) to 0.8 yuan per minute for the roaming service under different payment schemes.

This nearly doubles costs for subscribers, which angers consumers. Industry regulators have also urged operators to gradually abolish fees.

With 4G services developing rapidly, China's major telecom operators saw their net profit grow at remarkable pace in the first half of this year thanks to fast growth in 4G subscribers.

In July, China Telecommunications Corp, China's third largest mobile telecommunication provider, announced it will cancel roaming fees this year. On Thursday, China Unicom, another telecom heavyweight, said it will scrap such fees from October.

Analysts said that eliminating roaming fees will not incur big losses for operators, as the data flow business has become a major source of profit for them.

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