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CCA: Implementation of “Lower Price and Higher Speed” to Benefit Consumers
—— 2016-03-14 ——

On May 15, the “three major” telecom operators, namely, China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, respectively announced their plans on “lower price and higher speed” for data traffic at the call of the State Council and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. This week, the spokesperson of CCA said in an interview that Chinese consumers have been expected lower price and fast speed of data traffic for many years and the first step has been finally taken. In particular, the “three major” telecom carriers have announced the much anticipated measures: “users can carry forward unused monthly data allowance” “the speed of broadband will be enhanced free of charge” “the annual fee of broadband will be lowered” and “the roaming fee will be lowered for travelers to Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and other countries”. CCA welcomes these moves and wishes to see the real implementation of the “lower prices and higher speed” initiatives benefiting the consumers. CCA also wishes that these measures could play a due role in improving information service quality, unleashing the potential of information consumption and developing the “Internet +” economic mode.

In view of the specific plans announced by telecom operators, CCA believes that more voice of consumers should be listened in “guiding the market with consumption” and “lowering prices and lifting speed” to reflect the response to the appeals of consumers and better serve consumers.

1. The “lower prices and higher speed” reform should conform to consumers’ consumption demand and habit. At present, some individual carriers’ partially lowering price measures have a far cry from most consumers’ consumption demand and habit. For example, the focus on lowering prices of data traffic at night time when most consumers usually do not use has become ridicule among netizens. CCA believes that telecom operators’ plan on lowering prices should be based on consumer’ demand and adapt to different consumers’ using time and habit, and they should introduce plans that can benefit more consumers.

2. Telecom carriers should make the traffic price open and transparent, make the charging mode simple and clear and practically guarantee consumers’ right to know. For quite some time, there are various kinds of telecommunication service packages and the charging mode is complex, which have been denounced by consumers. At the moment, many data plans of operators go against the requirement for transparency of prices. Operators should further simplify the variety of their traffic plans and try to fulfill their duty of disclosure in specific implementations. They should also make clear their exceptions, remind obligations and charge modes, improve price transparency and ensure consumers’ right to know.

3. There should be clear-cut standards for broadband speed to ensure the consistency of the promised network speed with the actual speed used by subscribers. In recent years, consumers have repeatedly reflected that the broadband speed is slow and inconsistent with or even much different from the publicity. In addition, broadband operators and agents’ network speed monitoring and measuring ways are also quite different from that for the network speed talked by industry experts. CCA suggests the industry to unify the so-called “network speed” statement as soon as possible and use real and unified concept to publicize their services to consumers. In this way, consumers could have transparent consumption and the social supervision will be more convenient.  

4. Telecom operators should improve their international roaming service and further lower the international roaming rates. As the number of Chinese outbound tourists keeps increasing, consumers requiring international roaming services have become a huge consumer market that requires operators to speed up the improvement of their international roaming services, further cut down international settlement fees through strengthening cooperation with operators of other countries and territories, and provide better services and bigger benefits for Chinese consumers.

5. The basic charges for telecommunications should be subject to government regulations and should be priced in a scientific way. With the continuous popularization of telecommunication services, mobile telecom service and broadband service will become necessary basic services for the masses and become public services just like water, electricity, gas supply and postal services. To this end, it’s necessary to introduce a public price hearing mechanism for the pricing of the basic charges, strengthen supervisions and regulate pricing behaviors.

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