Regulator cracks whip on telecom service providers
by October and will result in lower, roughly about onethird, mobile traffic fees nationwide.
Zhang said the carriers will introduce 2-gigabyte per month 4G traffic packages between 50 yuan ($8) and 60 yuan. The international roaming fees have already dropped by more than 80 percent on average sinceMay.
The new budget is very affordable and can meet most of the demand. Lower roaming fees will also greatly benefitChinese tourists, according to Zhang.
“We are asking carriers to launch affordable traffic packages that suit all types of users. It is the primary goal of the initiative,” he said.
The ministry is also looking to cut the prices of cable connections by 20-30 percent from the average price inMay.
The “Big Three” — China Mobile Communications Corp, China United Network Communications Ltd and China Telecommunications Corp — did not disclose individual moves onWednesday.
However, they reiterated their commitment to follow the ministry’s directive and cut service charges before the end of this year.
China’s Internet connection became a target of public criticism starting inMay after Premier Li Keqiang said the service is “too expensive” and the speed is “too slow”.
Li has repeated the request of lowering prices and lifting speed on several occasions over the past fewmonths.
The top three carriers scrambled to answer Li’s call, introducing cheaper deals. But the moves did not go down well with the general public as they felt that the promotions offered by carriers were valid only very late in the nightwhenmost users are not likely to surf theWeb.
Cheng Li, a user of China Mobile’s 4G service, said she hopes the traffic fees could be lower.
“I need about 1 gigabyte of traffic each month, but the deal I am using only covers 500 megabytes. I have to spend another 30 yuan for the other 500 megabytes, and that is a little too expensive for me,” said the 28-year-old sales manager who lives in Beijing.
Cao Shumin, president of the China Academy of Information and Communications, said the country’s Internet service still requires considerable investment to lift connection speeds to the next level.
“The connection speed in the cities is not that bad, when compared with other developing economies. The problem lies in the vast rural areas where the infrastructure construction is lagging behind,” Cao said.
China is building the world’s largest 4G network, with the number of 4G users rising by 128 million in the first six months.
The size of its telecom market exceeded 1 trillion yuan in the first half, representing a 23.2 percent jump over last year.