Wed, Dec 09, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Telecoms companies urge lifting of price regulations

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Telecommunications operators urged regulators at a public hearing organized by the National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday to lift controls on retail rates for fixed network and mobile communication.

“The price ceiling set on retail communications will put new telecoms carriers at a disadvantage when competing with market heavyweights,” Taiwan Telecommunication Industry Development Association (TTIDA) spokesperson Liu Li-chau (劉莉秋) said. “We hope that the NCC can just regulate the termination charge, not the retail sales price as well.”

The termination charge occurs when the originator of a telephone call pays the full charge for the call. The network from which the call originates is then charged by the network on which the call terminates. The charge generally covers network connection fees or rental fees for electric circuits and is regulated in Europe and other nations that ask the calling party to pay the full connection cost.

Chunghwa Telecom (CHT,中華電信) representative Chiu Rui-shu (邱瑞旭) said the NCC should consider the long-term development of the telecommunications industry before regulating pricing policy.

“The market that the telecoms carriers share at the moment is not going to get any bigger,” Chiu said. “Aside from our old competitors, we also face competition from newcomers, such as operators offering Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) or cable television service providers. And even though our annual revenue has not fluctuated much in recent years, the actual profits that each carrier earns are dropping.”

Chiu said the nation is able to offer fast Internet services and achieve such a high network coverage rate because telecoms companies were able to spend money and resources developing new communications technology. The lower revenue will only hinder research and development, he said.

The NCC hosted the hearing because it is planning to set a new price adjustment cap for telecoms carriers in the Type I, which includes CHT, Taiwan Mobile (台灣大), Far Eastone Telecom (遠傳電信), Vibo Telecom (威寶電信) and First International Telecom (大眾電信).

Jinwen University of Science and Technology professor Chuang Chuen-fa (莊春發) said in the hearing that telecoms carriers have seen their revenues dwindle year after year.

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