15 Sep 2009 08:40

China Unicom and ChungHwa Telecom lower roaming fees

Beijing. September 15. INTERFAX-CHINA - China United Network Communications Corp. Ltd. (China Unicom) and Taiwanese telecom operator ChungHwa Telecom Co. Ltd. have lowered mobile roaming fees between their two subscriber bases, slashing fees of ChungHwa Telecom users in mainland China by nearly 50 percent, according to a Sept. 14 China Unicom announcement.

Under the mutual agreement, the new roaming fee policy will be backdated to Sept. 1, benefiting nearly 9 million subscribers in both mainland China and Taiwan, according to the announcement.

For ChungHwa subscribers in mainland China, roaming fees for calls to Taiwan have been reduced from TWD 21 ($0.64) to TWD 23 ($0.7) per minute to TWD 12 ($0.37) to TWD 13 ($0.4), while calls to local Chinese cities were cut from between TWD 11 ($0.34) and TWD 12 ($0.37) to TWD 7.95 ($0.24) per minute. A roaming fee of TWD 20 ($0.61) to TWD 21 ($0.64) per minute now applies to incoming calls from Taiwan, under the agreement.

Roaming fees for calls made by China Unicom users in Taiwan will vary from region to region, based on the policies of China Unicom's provincial subsidiaries. Currently, Beijing Unicom users in Taiwan pay RMB 4.99 ($0.73) per minute to call within Taiwan and pay RMB 2.39 ($0.35) per minute when calling Beijing.

"In the past, very few China Unicom subscribers traveled to Taiwan, and lowering roaming fees would not have benefited China Unicom. However, as Taiwan becomes increasingly open to bilateral investment and tourism, China Unicom believes that reducing mobile roaming fees will be mutually beneficial for both parties," a China Unicom service representative told Interfax.

China Unicom has 141 million GSM subscribers, according to July statistics released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).